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Inside the Game: Battle of Alberta

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames


The Edmonton Oilers, paced by three power play goals in the second period, took Round 1 of the Battle of Alberta Friday, downing the Calgary Flames 4-3 at a sold-out Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Flames took the lead briefly in the second period when David Moss top-shelfed his first of the season but the Oilers struck back  with three consecutive power play goals to take a 4-2 lead into the third period.

Referee Dan Marouelli felt the wrath of the Flames faithful after two questionable calls led to Oiler goals on the power play.

Flames Line Combinations


Defence Pairings:
Kiprusoff (S)  McElhinney

Official Gamesheet

The Flames were able to claw back into the game when Todd Bertuzzi, dangling neatly towards the Oiler net, stuffed a deke behind starter Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, who was playing in his first NHL game.

The goal came at 7:23 of the third but was all the Flames would muster in the first game of back-to-back meetings with the Oilers.

The Oilers were three for six n the power play and it made the difference in the game.

"We have to stay out of the box and figure a way to draw more penalties. We didn't do that tonight," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

The Flames took five consecutive penalties  in the second period to give the Oilers life.

"You can't give a team that many power play chances, plain and simple," said Bertuzzi.

The first period had just a hint of fireworks when Rene Bourque and Oiler defenceman Sheldon Souray exchanged face rubs after a whistle in the Oilers zone. Leave it to a couple of Alberta boys -- Bourque is from Lac La Biche and Souray is from Elk Point -- to stir the Battle of Alberta pot a little.

The score after 20 minutes was 1-1 as Adrian Aucoin scored for Calgary and Jason Strudwick scored for the Oilers, who outshot Calgary 14-8 in the first.

Aucoin's goal was the result of some terrific forechecking and cycling from the Flames second line of Rene Bourque, Mike Cammalleri and Matthew Lombardi.

Head coach Mike Keenan was more than a little stumped by the calls.

"if you look hard enough you can probably find a penalty in every play. Were (the Flames penalties) warranted? The next question is were they penalty free for 40 minutes -- the opposition -- because that is what it amounts to," said Keenan.

THE BIG HITS: Flame defenceman Dion Phaneuf pasted Kyle Brodziak at the Oiler blueline as the forward tried to leave the zone. He followed it up with another, similar hit, on Steve MacIntyre moments later. That led to a turnover and the Flames second goal of the night. A short time later Cory Sarich hip-checked Erik Cole inside the Flames blueline knocking Cole's helmet off.
THE TURNING POINT: The Oilers scored three power play goals beginning at 6:30 and ending at 16:05 of the second. That 10 minute span proved to be the difference.

THE ROSTER: Flames Scratches: D Adam Pardy, F Eric Nystrom and F Brandon Prust

A PLAYOFF NEEDED: Oilers coach Craig MacTavish is not in the minority when he suggests a playoff series between the Flames and Oilers would take the rivalry to the next level. "The aggressiveness and the physical play goes up when there's more on the line and there hasn't been as much on the line" said MacTavish, a participant in the great battles of the 1980s between the two teams. "We need a playoff series is what we need. We know it is time for that. We've got to get to the playoffs to have that happen. Hopefully we are in ap position where we're both good teams and we can have a good go in the playoffs, which would be good for everybody in Alberta."

WORTH NOTING: Oiler defenceman Sheldon Souray left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury and did not return...The two teams will go at it again on Saturday at 8 p.m. on Hockey Night in Canada...The Flames held an 85-81-19-1 series lead in the provincial battle heading into the game...The Oilers play 16 of their first 23 games on the road...Former Flame netminder Dwayne Roloson, now an Oiler, needs one more game for 400 in the NHL. He was the odd-man out Friday as the Oilers have three goalies and did not dress Roloson, instead going with Jeff Douin-Deslauriers...Flamed defenceman Robyn Regehr took a penalty and then a puck in the face on a play in the second period. He returned to the game after getting repairs...

BY THE NUMBERS: Flame forward Todd Bertuzzis has four goals in his first four games as a Flame...The Flames were outshot 35-29...Calgary registered 22 hits to Edmonton's 15...Calgary bocked 15 shots...Rene Bourque led the Flames with five shots on goal...

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