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Flames 4 Oilers 1: Inside the Game

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

GAME AT A GLANCE: Owen Nolan probably said it best during a radio interview between the first and second period of Saturday's Battle of Alberta at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"Payback is a b--tch," said Nolan.

Edmonton Oilers' Marty Reasoner, left, skates away as Calgary Flames' Owen Nolan, from Ireland, celebrates his goal with teammate defenseman Dion Phaneuf during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

The Flames winger was referring to a nasty hit from behind he took in the neutral zone late in the first period courtesy Edmonton defenceman Ladislav Smid.

But he could have been talking a bigger picture as the Flames sought, and received, revenge from an embarrassing 5-0 loss to Edmonton on Monday at Rexall Place. It just so happened that the veteran winger led the payback of the Oilers, scoring twice in a 4-1 win over their provincial rivals. Nolan's payback was not of the brawn and brawl type, but the type that often hurts more -- he hurt the Oilers on the scoreboard.

"I don't know how he doesn't get a penalty there. The first thing that hit the boards was my chest," said Nolan.

The Flames wanted a good start. Good starts to games usually result in good endings. Consider the job accomplished as the Flames came out hard against the Oilers, established a presence on the forecheck and along the boards and got plenty of pucks to the Oilers net while giving up only a handful of true scoring chances to the Oilers.

Flames dressing room reaction

"We're capable of doing that but we haven't. There's no reason for it," said Nolan of the team's starts. "We've been sitting back and letting teams take it to us. Tonight we needed a character win."

And they got one.

The Flames, who had not scored a goal in the first period in six games, struck first when Dion Phaneuf's point shot rattled off a stick and then off Nolan in front of the Oilers net and past netminder Mathieu Garon at 16:14 of the first and went on to outshoot the Oilers 11-3 in the period. Nolan's second of the game was more highlight-reel than the first as he wired a slapper past a stunned Garon in the Oilers net to give the Flames a 3-0 lead at 12:44 of the second period. Phaneuf, with a power play goal from the point at 4:41 of the second, gave the Flames a 2-0 lead.

Edmonton Oilers' Dustin Penner, left, fights with Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. The Flames beat the Oilers 4-1.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

At the end of the second period the Flames were outshooting the Oilers 21-6 and outhitting the visitors 26-17 as the game developed into a total reversal of Monday's game in Edmonton.

Heading into the third period the Oilers looked to be a badly beaten down team but they responded with a goal and nine shots on net after generating very little through 40 minutes.

The first period featured six fighting majors as the teams got started where things left off earlier in the week -- there were nine fighting majors in that game. There was one more fight in the third period.

The Oilers lone goal came at 16:05 when Robert Nilsson scored on a breakaway deke to spoil an otherwise perfect night for Miikka Kiprusoff. Jarome Iginla finished the night off with an empty-net goal.

Nolan, who recently recorded a hat trick, is finding the net more as the season continues and has 14 tallies so far. "I have probably had more two goal games than one-goal games. That's just the way the game goes. I've had empty nets and missed them and then there is tonight you go to the front and it goes in off your pants. There's no explanation. You just have to work hard and good things will happen."

THE BIG SAVE: With the Flames killing a penalty in the first period Miikka Kiprusoff gets a piece of a Ales Hemsky shot off the wing but it trickles behind him. An alert David Hale reaches around and pulls the puck off the goal line to keep the score at 0-0.
THE BIG HIT: Robyn Regehr rides Ales Hemsky hard into the end boards, crumpling the Oilers forward like a piece of cardboard. Regehr received a penalty on the play -- perhaps getting his arms around Hemsky for a little tackle action -- but before he could get to the penalty box a line brawl got started as the Oilers took exception to the hit. The most notable fight of the sequence was Matthew Lombardi squaring off with Ladislav Smid and winning.
THE TURNING POINT: The Flames take advantage with the man advantage in the second period when Dion Phaneuf rockets home his 10th of the season with a low, hard point shot that makes it 2-0 for the Flames.

THE ROSTER: The Flames healthy scratches were F Wayne Primeau, D Rhett Warrener and F Marcus Nilson.

THE FIGHT CARD: Nothing like Hockey Day in Canada and a Battle of Alberta to get the blood pumping. As expected the Flames and Oilers got at it quickly and often Saturday. Here's a summary of the fight card.

Dion Phaneuf vs. Ethan Moreau: The first bout of the evening and a rematch of a fight from Monday when the two teams played in Edmonton. Just 15 seconds into the game, the two exchanged punches in the Flames zone. Likely a draw.

Matthew Lombardi vs. Ladislav Smid: After Robyn Regehr snuffs out Ales Hemsky with a hit the Oilers react and a scrum ensues with most of the players on the ice. While there appeared to be some pairings getting ready to fight, it turned out that Smid and Lombardi would be the main card for this dance. According to it was Lombardi's first pro fight. He had a favourable finish, too, landing far more punches than Smid.

Eric Godard vs. Matt Greene: More wrestling than big throwing of punches in this one. Give Godard the edge for the final takedown.

Robyn Regehr vs. Dustin Penner: Penner runs into Flame goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Regehr takes exception. He waits for Penner to get up and the two got at it in the third period. Give Regehr the nod in this one.

SPECIAL TEAMS: The Flames generated a goal and nine shots on four power plays. The Oilers were 0-2 on the night.

WORTH NOTING: Flames GM Darryl Sutter paid a visit to the team's practice on Friday and had a word with his troops."No, Darryl's not happy and you can't blame him for that," noted Craig Conroy following the meeting...Andrew Cogliano rang shot off the post with the Flames leading 2-0 near the 12 minute mark of the second period...The Flames first line for much of the game saw Craig Conroy centering Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. The second line of Owen Nolan, Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow, however, had a very good night as Huselius assisted on both of Nolan's goals...One of the second period intermission highlights saw a couple get engaged at centre ice. Congrats go out to Pat and Leslie...

BY THE NUMBERS: The Flames now lead the NHL with 49 majors, one more than Anaheim...Both Alex Tanguay and Adrian Aucoin extended points streaks by picking up assists. Tanguay has four assists in his last three games while Aucoin has a goal and two assists in the last three games. Tanguay had two assists against the Oilers and now has 34 on the season...The Flames are now 17-6-3 when scoring the first goal of a game...Calgary is now 10-8-3 against Northwest Division opponents...The Battle of Alberta is now is now knotted at 3-3 this season...The Oilers generated just 15 shots on net. That's the second lowest total of shots allowed by the Flames this season as the best this season stands at 14. The team record for fewest shots in a game is 12 and the last time that happened was against the New York Islanders in 1999, a 2-1 win...Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf led the Flames with five shots each...
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