As expected there was plenty of energy in the Pengrowth Saddledome as Calgary and Edmonton renewed their rivalry for yet another season.
That energy might have helped pump up the home team as the Flames, who have had notoriously slow starts at home this season, were ready from the drop of the first puck. They were rewarded early when Dustin Penner tripped up Alex Tanguay
just nine seconds into the game.
On the ensuing man-advantage Kristian Huselius picked up a Dion Phone point shot of the end boards and neatly stuffed it into the Oilers net before Dwayne Roloson had a chance to react to the play. Bingo, bango, a good start and the Flames lead 1-0 just 1:01 into the game.
THE BIG SAVE
With the Flames pressing in the first period and taking the play to the Oilers, Dwayne Roloson made a miracle toe save on David Moss
. Roloson stopped an Adrian Aucoin point shot and the rebound kicked out to Moss in the slot. With the net wide open Moss fired and Roloson somehow slid across to get his toe on the shot and keep the Oilers in the game.
THE BIG HIT
Oiler defenceman Joni Pitkanen cruised into the Flames zone in the first period, looked at Cory Sarich
, and then got crunched by Cory Sarich
who rode Pitkanen into the boards inside the Flames blueline.
It looked as though Pitkanen wasn't expecting to get hit, even though he looked right at Sarich, who promptly provided a wake-up call.
THE BIG FIGHT
| Flames Line-up |
|Defence Pairings: |
|Kiprusoff (S) McElhinney |
Flames forward Owen Nolan reacted quickly when Oiler tough guy Zack Stortini decided to hook up with him at the Oilers blueline in the second period. Error on Stortini's part. Nolan quickly delivered a barrage of punches and Stortini's efforts to pick up his team failed as the Saddledome crowd gave Nolan, who will play in game 1000 of his career on Monday, was given a standing ovation for his pugilistic efforts.
From there, things got downright nasty. Raffi Torres cracked an unsuspecting David Moss
just inside the Flames blueline with a shoulder and was given a tripping penalty. The blow stunned Moss, who was not in the play, and appeared to stagger the sophomore winger as he was wobbly getting up from the hit.
Torres stepped out of the penalty box, was stopped on a breakaway by Miikka Kiprusoff
and then, back in the Oilers end, ran into an angry Rhett Warrener, who wanted to dance. Both were escorted to the box with fighting majors.
Moss, by the way, returned to the game and nearly scored coming off the left wing on a nifty wrist shot. However, he was not on the Flames bench midway through the third period. He is believed to have suffered a concussion.
GAGNER NETS HIS FIRST
Sam Gagner, an Oiler rookie with junior eligibility left, scored his first NHL goal, picking up a rebound and firing it into a gaping Flames net from the left circle.
Gagner, a London Knight and Team Canada player, is the son of former NHLer Dave Gagner who played in Calgary in 1996-97. Father Gagner registered 27 goals and 60 points for the Flames.
The younger Gagner is making a strong case to stick with the big team -- he now has five points in seven games. He is close to reaching the 10-game mark when the Oilers will have to make a decision on whether or not he goes back to junior or stays with the big club. Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe said before the game that Gagner's performance against the Flames would be a factor in making that decision.
Gagner must have been listening to Lowe.
Flames forward Wayne Primeau slid awkwardly into the end boards early in the second period, jamming his right leg.
He was helped off the ice by teammates, favouring the leg.
Following the game the Flames said Primeau had suffered a high ankle sprain.WORTH NOTING...
The Oilers are the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 26.6. The Flames are nearly three years older on average. The league average is 28.2...Oiler coach Craig MacTavish marked his 500th game behind the Edmonton bench on Saturday...Flames F Kristian Huselius played in his 400th career game...Flames F Daymond Langkow's assist on Jarome Iginla
's second period goal ws the 300th of his career. He reached the 200-goal mark for his career when he scored twice against Los Angeles on Thursday...