I want to make sure I see my veterans react to playing with younger players. I want to see the younger players react against key position. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- It didn't put a tick in the win column, but it was a victory nonetheless.
Knotted at 2-2 late in the third period, Martin Marincin's goal 4:52 remaining in the third period may have given the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory, but being able to evaluate how his young roster responded in the first game of preseason action was a win for Bob Hartley.
"I was pleased," Hartley said. "I can't fault the effort. The first two goals, there was some kids mistake but that's why we played them. We want to put them in those kinds of situations and if they do well, if they do bad…I shouldn't even say bad. If they make a mistake this is a game of mistakes.
"I felt those kids recuperated real well and they put it behind them and kept going."
Marincin tapped in a pass from Ryan Hamilton after Joni Ortio, on for the back-end of the 60-minute tilt, couldn't corral Jordan Eberle's initial shot. Edmonton's goal came a shift after Emile Poirier just about added his second of the night to give Calgary their first lead of the game, letting traffic funnel to the net before ringing the puck off the post.
Calgary's contingent -- playing opposite their split squad in Edmonton -- trailed by two after two periods, but Poirier put the Flames on the board early in the third.
Shane O'Brien's point shot was blocked but the rebound skirted over to the 22nd pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Poirier one-timed the puck behind Oilers netminder Richard Backman just 2:43 into the frame to cut the lead to 2-1.
"I think I just went to the net," Poirier said. "It was the right time and it's an unbelievable feeling. First game and (I) scored."
It wasn't just his goal that caught the coach's eye.
"Poirier, especially the second half of the game," Hartley said. "I felt his speed really generated some good scoring chances for us, gave us the rebound goal."
Veteran Mike Cammalleri squared the game after some hustle from Matt Stajan.
Outracing the Edmonton defence to a dump in deep in the Oilers zone, Stajan pivoted and fired a pass squarely onto the stick of Cammalleri, who promptly deposited it behind Bachman at 6:31.
Marincin's late goal put the game out of reach, but Hartley wasn't disappointed with the end result.
Still, the game had plenty of value for Hartley.
"I put some kids with some veterans," he said. "I want to make sure I see my veterans react to playing with younger players. I want to see the younger players react against key position. We played some kids against (Jordan) Eberle and for me, that's what I wanted to see."
Though the Flames had the game's first scoring chances, it was the Oilers who found the back of the net first.
With Ryan Culkin in the penalty box for interference, Ryan Jones deflected a Jeff Petry point shot behind starter Joey MacDonald to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead just 3:41 into the game.
Mark Giordano almost drew Calgary even at Jones' expense. With the Oilers' forward in the penalty box for cross checking, Giordano walked in from the slot and beat Jason Labarbara but not the post at 8:40.
The chance came just minutes after Sean Monahan was denied his first of the season. Taking a cross-ice pass at the top of the crease from Curtis Glencross, Monahan's tap-in was denied by the Edmonton goalie.
Not to be outdone, MacDonald flashed the glove to deny Ty Bilcke his first of the exhibition series at the eight minute mark of the second period. After winning a footrace to the puck, Derek Nesbitt found Bilcke in the slot, but the Flames goaltender was equal to the task for his best save of the night.
With goaltenders splitting action, MacDonald was relieved by Ortio with 8:52 remaining in the middle frame after stopping eight of nine shots. Labarbara stopped all 12 shots he faced before being relieved by Bachman.
It didn't take long for Ortio to be tested.
Edmonton forward David Perron walked off the boards and snapped a shot from the right dot that beat the Flames goaltender short side just 2:05 into Ortio's shift and two minutes after John Ramage's penalty for holding had expired.