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Flames fall to Oilers in first edition of 2015-16 Battle of Alberta

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist to help the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday in Todd McLellan's first win as Oilers coach.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov also scored for Edmonton (1-4-0).

The Oilers had lost seven straight against the Flames, including a five-game season-series sweep in 2014-15 that saw Calgary outscore Edmonton 21-8.

David Jones scored twice for Calgary (1-4-0), which has lost all its games on home ice and three in a row overall. The Flames were 23-13-5 at home lasts season.

The Flames played without 19-year-old forward Sam Bennett, who was a late scratch and is listed as day-to-day because of an upper-body injury.

After hitting the post 9:45 into the game, Nugent-Hopkins made good on his second attempt when he scored the only goal of the first period.

Defenceman Eric Gryba sent a one-timer through a screen that Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller kicked back onto the stick of Nugent-Hopkins, who scored before Hiller could recover to put Edmonton up 1-0 at 12:59.

Calgary tied it 1-1 with Jones' first goal of the night at 5:07 of the second period, but McDavid restored the lead with his second of the season at 16:31. After picking up Yakupov's pass in the neutral zone, McDavid raced into the Flames zone and snapped a shot that went through the legs of Calgary defenceman Kris Russell before beating Hiller to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead.

It was almost short-lived, but Oilers goalie Cam Talbot came up strong in denying Flames captain Mark Giordano in the slot on a shorthanded 3-on-1 opportunity with 59 seconds remaining in the period.

It took the Oilers 25 seconds to extend their lead in the third. Hall redirected Oscar Klefbom's centering feed from just off the goal line behind Hiller to put Edmonton up 3-1. McDavid quickly helped extend the lead to three, scooping up the puck on a Giordano bobble behind the Flames net before sending a no-look pass to Benoit Pouliot, who spotted Yakupov to Hiller's left for a tap-in at 2:59.

McDavid, the No. 1 selection in the 2015 NHL Draft last June, almost put the Oilers up four a minute later, stripping Brett Kulak at the Calgary blue line before working his way in alone on Hiller, who made a desperation save with the paddle of his stick to keep the game 4-1.

With McDavid called for hooking, the first minor penalty of his NHL career, the Flames worked back within two. Jones darted into the Edmonton zone and fired a shot that changed directions after clipping the skate of Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne to beat Talbot over the glove at 10:14. It was his third goal.

McDavid scored his second of the night with 3:40 remaining, batting a cross-crease pass from Hall past Hiller to extend the Oilers lead to 5-2.

Talbot made 22 saves, including 10 in the third, to preserve the win, his first with Edmonton.

The Oilers hired McLellan as the 14th coach in their history on May 19. He had spent seven seasons as coach of the San Jose Sharks, who he led to six Stanley Cup Playoff appearances before missing the postseason in 2014-15.

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