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EPIC 'BATTLE'

Flames remain undefeated against Oilers this season - and undefeated in 2020 - as they beat their provincial rivals

by TY PILSON @typilson / calgaryflames.com

It was billed as the biggest game of the season to date.

Flames vs. Oilers.

A Hockey Night in Canada tilt between hated rivals.

And unlike has been the case often in years past, there was tons on the line outside of bragging rights.

It was a Battle of Alberta matchup between two teams that came into the night tied in points, both looking to continue their climb into top spot in the Pacific Division.

 

Video: Brendan Parker wraps up the 4-3 win

 

It promised to be a physical affair, full of grit and grind, with offence and flair sure to be thrown in for good measure.

It didn't disappoint.

Elias Lindholm scored the game-winner in the third period - his second goal of the of the night and 20th of the season - as the Flames edged the visiting Oilers 4-3 Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

It was the second meeting of the season between the clubs, the Flames winning 5-1 back on Dec. 27 in the provincial capital.

Good news for fans - they play three more times this season.

Calgary remains undefeated in 2020 with a perfect 5-0 mark.

They also moved into first place in the Pacific for the first time this season.

The last time these two teams met, the Flames got out to a quick start.

Like, a lightning-quick start.

Andrew Mangiapane scored a scant 11 seconds into the game, beating Mikko Koskinen in what was an ominous sign of things to come for the Oilers.

Saturday night, Mangiapane found himself with the puck on his backhand in tight some 20 clicks in, however this time Koskinen was able to stop his offering.

In rapid succession after, Johnny Gaudreau fired a tight-angle laser that Koskinen turned aside and then slammed his pads shut as No. 13 tried to go five-hole on his backhand on a breakaway.

The Flames kept coming in waves, Derek Ryan just missing getting his stick on the rebound of a Dillon Dube shot as he stared at an open cage.

Lindholm got the homeside on the board, gathering a loose puck off a broken play and spinning near the left faceoff circle and firing it in one motion far-side.

It was his team-leading 19th goal of the campaign, with Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk getting the assists.

 

Video: EDM@CGY: Lindholm scores on bouncing puck

 

At that point the shots were 8-2 for the Flames.

But the Oilers answered back just 1:03 later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins taking a cross-ice pass from Kailer Yamamoto and wristing it past Cam Talbot.

A tick under four minutes later, Ethan Bear sprung Oilers captain Connor McDavid on a breakaway and he roofed it short-side to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

But Gaudreau tied it up with 41 seconds left in the first period.

Noah Hanifin made an excellent play near the red line to get a pass to Sean Monahan, who quickly moved it ahead to his linemate.

Johnny Hockey skated into the zone and cut across the ice, putting a great move on Joakim Nygard to get around him and then firing the puck high far-side through some traffic.

 

Video: EDM@CGY: Gaudreau scores in 1st period


Talbot was tested quick to start the second stanza, making a big glove stop on Leon Draisaitl, who held the puck and shot on a 2-on-1 with Nugent-Hopkins.

At the 1:24 mark, Nugent-Hopkins tried to fire a shot that went off Gaudreau's skate and changed direction to beat Talbot. 

Dube - who was impactful right from his first shift, playing physical and using his speed to create chances - scored at 11:34 to tie it up again.

After a botched clearing attempt by the Oilers, Ryan got a shot on net and after Koskinen saved it, three Oilers stood around while Dube came it and knocked it home for his fourth of the year.

 

Video: EDM@CGY: Dube scores in 2nd period

 

Talbot kept the game locked at three when he fired across his crease to get his blocker on a shot by former Flame James Neal, who took a pass from McDavid on an Edmonton 3-on-2 rush.

Before the period ended, Zack Kassian took exception a huge hit Tkachuk laid on him - the second such of the game - knocking the helmet off the Oilers forward. Kassian started throwing punches at Tkachuk and was given a four-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.

Calgary started the third period with 2:07 left in that man-advantage.

They used just 39 seconds, with Lindholm skating down the right wing boards and firing a wrister that found twine.

Mark Giordano and Gaudreau collected helpers.

 

Video: EDM@CGY: Lindholm scores PPG in 3rd period

 

With 12:16 left, Mangiapane burst in behind the defence and grabbed a long pass from Tkachuk and scored a backhand on Koskinen but it was immediately waived off, the official saying the whistle was blown on an offside.

With just over eight minutes to play, Hanifin was sent off for interference giving the Oilers their first powerplay of the game. The Flames penalty-kill answered the bell, denying them the tying tally.

 

THEY SAID IT:

Gaudreau on the night:

"Lot of fun - high paced. Two good teams. You know, some really skilled players oin the ice. I'm sure it was entertaining for the fans and was fun to be out there."

 

Video: "Chucky was great for us tonight"

 

Tkachuk on his play:

"I needed to play like that tonight, and I needed to be physical and, you know, not pass up on a hit. But I thought our whole team did that, I thought our whole team did a great job tonight again."

 

Video: "If he doesn't want to get hit, stay off the tracks"

 

On importance of victory:

"There was a lot up for grabs tonight so you have to do whatever it takes to go and get that win."

 

Talbot on the win:

"It felt great. I mean, the guys did a great job in front of me. We came out, we established our game early, we gave them a couple back but I thought after that we were pretty solid. I mean our PK came up with a huge penalty-kill at the end and our powerplay got us that goal at the beginning of the third so, all around, a great game by us."

 

Video: "We had a solid night up and down our lineup"

 

Lindholm on spirited affair:

"That was a good game, obviously a lot of emotions and more like a playoff game, so that was a fun game to play and that was a huge win for us and now we have to keep building here."

 

Video: "It's always fun to score goals"

 

Ward on old-school feel of tilt:

"Obviously the implications of the game were big for this period of time right now, with the two teams being as even as they are. I thought it was a good example of two teams playing hard. It was a good hockey game. So, a lot of good things probably on both sides of the table, but we're happy with the way we played tonight."

 

Video: "(Tkachuk) was a beast out there for us tonight"

 

ONE-TIMERS:

Flames TV's Brendan Parker went for a skate on the Scotiabank Saddledome ice with interim coach Geoff Ward this past week for a new feature we call Spinnin' Laps With. In Part 1 of their interview, he asked him questions submitted by our fans on Twitter (see below). Check out Flames.com and our social media channels Sunday for Part II of the wide-ranging chat ... The Flames are 14-12-3 against Western Conference opponents, and 9-5-1 against the Pacific Division ... The Blue Jays brought their cross-Canada tour to the 'Dome for the game and received a warm welcome when they were announced. The players and alumni attending were: Trent Thornton, Cavan Biggio, Rowdy Tellez, Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, Ricky Romero, J.P. Arencibia ... Also in the house last night were the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks. They are back on the floor here on Jan. 25 when they host the expansion Halifax Thunderbirds an East Coast Kitchen Party-themed game. (click here for tickets) ... Monahan's next point will make him just the 14th player in Calgary Flames franchise history to reach 400 points with the club.

 

Video: Flames coach answers your Twitter questions

 

THE LINEUP:

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Your @Schneiders starters vs. the Oilers! pic.twitter.com/xRsPPdHQpG

 

Trios and D-pairings to start tonight's tilt:

FORWARDS:

Matthew Tkachuk - Elias Lindholm - Andrew Mangiapane

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube

Zac Rinaldo - Tobias Rieder - Sam Bennett
 

DEFENCE:

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson
 

GOALTENDER:

Cam Talbot

 

UP NEXT:

The Flames hit the road for a three-game Eastern Canadian swing, beginning in Montreal on Monday, followed by stops in Toronto on Thursday and a matinee with the Senators on Saturday. Next home game is Jan. 28 when they host the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues (click here for tickets).

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