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Everyone got involved in another spirited Battle of Alberta tilt, even the goalies

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Plenty has been written recently about the Battle of Alberta.

That, after years of divergent fortunes between the Flames and Oilers, their rivalry matters again.

With both battling for playoff position in the ultra-tight Pacfic Division this year, the animosity, hatred and competitive juices between the two provincial rivals has been kicked up several notches.

Like, back up to the level of the epic battles of the 1980s.

And in case there was any doubt about that, both clubs presented compelling evidence with 24 seconds left in the second period Saturday night when they had a full melee between all 12 players on the ice, including a fight between goalies Cam Talbot and Mike Smith.


Video: Brendan Parker wraps up tonight's tilt


In Round 4 of this season's Battle of Alberta - just two days after the Flames beat the Oilers 4-3 in a shootout in Edmonton to improve to 3-0 in the BOA this campaign - the two clubs meet again, this time at the Scotiabank Saddledome, for a nationally-televised Hockey Night in Canada tilt.

With the score 6-3 for the Oilers in the middle stanza, Talbot made a save and fell backward on the puck, unsure where it was. Sam Gagne dove and jammed the puck under him into the net, the goal immediately waived off by the official.

That lit the powderkeg and it exploded.

All the players on the ice got into it - including Matthew Tkachuk fighting Oilers blueliner Ethan Bear - and eventually Smith skated down the ice and he and Talbot dropped the blocker and catcher and threw hands.

As the legendary Ed Whalen would say, it was a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.

The Oilers would go on to win the tilt 8-3, further amping up the feud between the clubs who will meet one more time this year, in the final game of the season on April 4.

Inbetween, of course, they'll continue to wage that battle for post-season position.

It was a rough start to the game for the Flames.

As in, Kailer Yamamoto scoring 29 seconds in rough.

And Zack Kassian following it up with another tally for the visitors 36 ticks later rough.

But then the homeside got their sea legs under them.

Johnny Gaudreau nearly made it 2-1 when Smith bobbled a puck behind the net, the biscuit sliding through the slot where Gaudreau snapped a shot but Smith, who had scrambled back and dove in dramatic fashion, knocked the offering wide with his paddle.

Johnny Hockey set up childhood pal Buddy Robinson for the second good crack the Flames had.

Robinson, playing in his third game since being called up from the Stockton Heat, sailed into the slot and took a feed from Gaudreau but snapped his shot high. 

Calgary got the first powerplay of the game and Sean Monahan had two glorious chances parked in the crease, the best one Smith mananged to flash the leather on and fall backwards just keeping his hand outside the line.

The aformentioned Gaudreau-Robinson connection finally cracked the goose egg, Johnny making a pass from the half-boards to Robinson, who shielded the puck and drove around Caleb Jones and flipped the puck over Smith's blocker at 12:42.


Video: EDM@CGY: Robinson fights off defender, nets puck


It was Robinson's first goal as a Flame and just his second NHL marker, the first coming back on April 7, 2016 as a member of the Ottawa Senators.

A rousing chant of 'Buddy, Buddy, Buddy' broke out after the official goal announcement.

Gaudreau was the last man into the celebration along the boards at the other side of the ice after the marker, jumping into the skyscraping 6-foot-6 Robinson's arm with an emphatic hug.

Edmonton quickly regained the two-goal lead, Connor McDavid scoring on a powerplay at 15:33.

Robinson brought the crowd to their feet again not long after, dropping the gloves for a quick fight with Jujhar Khaira.

McDavid made it 4-1 just under four minutes into the second period, taking advantage of a Calgary miscue.

Just after an Edmonton penalty expired, McDavid held onto the puck on a 2-on-1 with Leon Draisaitl and snapped it by Rittich.

The Calgary starter left the net following the marker after stopping 13 of the 17 shots he faced, and was replaced by Talbot. 

Just over a minute later, Andrew Mangiapane - who scored twice Wednesday against the Oilers for the first multi-goal game of his career - set up shop behind the net and made a nifty feed to Tkachuk who made no mistake with his far-side shot. 


Video: EDM@CGY: Tkachuk scores in 2nd period


Elias Lindholm made it a one-goal game off a turnover deep in the Ednonton zone. Standing right beside the net, Smith made the first save on him but ended up flat on his belly, Lindholm banking home the rebound up and off Smith's skate into the net.


Video: EDM@CGY: Lindholm nets fortuitous goal off Smith


Keeping with the run-and-gun theme of the tilt to that point, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins answered back after a lengthy Oilers possession, beating Talbot 1:23 after Lindholm's tally.

With 4:02 left in the second, Jones scored with a point-shot through a screen to make it 6-3.

Then came the Donnybrook, both teams sent to their rooms early. After the flood and intermission, they came out and played the last 24 seconds before a horn and the clock was set for the 20-minute third period.

Rittich was back in the net, of course.

Gagne and Gaetan Haas - on a late penalty shot - rounded out the scoring in a chippy third, that had lots of scuffles but no more fights.



Mark Giordano on the night:

"It was 2-0 before the flood was even dry out there, so we're chasing the game all night. Actually thought when it was 4-3 we had a good chance at getting back in this one and making it a game and then a couple of breakdowns later it's 6-3. So, we allowed a team that thrives on offence and putting pucks in the net ... we allowed their best players to really feel it tonight and that was the difference. They got the lead early and never looked back. When they're getting chances, they're a really dangerous team and we didn't do a good enough job of eliminating odd-man rushes and zone time. It felt like they had a lot of space out there tonight."


Video: "We were chasing the game all night"


Cam Talbot on what set him off:

"The score - didn't like the fact that he comes in and spears me when I'm on my back after the whistle so, I mean, those things - in a game like that - things just kind of set you off and I reacted accordingly. Probably not the smartest reaction on my part but it was a highly emotional game and my emotions got the best of me."


Video: "it was a highly emotional game"


Buddy Robinson on his night:

"Like you said, it's bittersweet. I'm just going out there and working hard and trying to still make a name for myself. It's two big points we lose in the standings to a team we were tied with coming in, so that definitely hurts the most, Definitely a special moment for myself to score a goal and have a friend like that assist on it on a cool play but it's just something I'll have to kind of put in the memory bank and just get ready to go back to work tomorrow."


Video: "I'm just going out there and working hard"


Ward with his take post-game:

"Well, everybody saw the same thing. They were good and we weren't. You know, so - what can we control, that's how we prepare to play again. Lessons we take out this, we have to be way more competitive. I thought some of our guys were. I thought, as a team, overall, we could have been more competitive."


Video: "They were good and we weren't"



The Flames have a record of 15-13-4 against Western Conference opponents, and aref 8-7-1 against the Pacific Division ... Gaudreau's assist on Robinson's goal gave him 428 points, tying Joel Otto for the 10th most points in Calgary Flames history.




Tweet from @NHLFlames: Your @Schneiders starters vs. the Oilers!


The trios and d-pairings to start the game:


Andrew Mangiapane - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Buddy Robinson

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Tobias Rieder


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


David Rittich



The Flames round out this three-game homestand with tilts against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (click here for tickets), and the Nashville Predators on Thursday (click here for tickets). From there, they head out on a four-game road swing through Vancouver, San Jose, LA, and Anaheim.

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