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."