CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -The Calgary Flames finally got off to a good start thanks to some early physical force.
Three fights in the first 6 minutes got the emotions going and Owen Nolan scored the first of his two goals later in the period as the Flames went on to a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
"It got everybody into it and it shows the type of emotion our team can play with," said Nolan, who opened the scoring with 3:46 left in the first period, giving Calgary its first goal in an opening period in seven games. "There's no limitations if we play that way."
Dion Phaneuf's shot from the blue line changed directions twice - caroming off an Oilers player in front of the net, then off Nolan around the midsection, and it just trickled over the goal line.
Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla also scored for Calgary and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 14 shots. Kristian Huselius and Alex Tanguay had two assists apiece.
Robert Nilsson had the only goal for the Oilers, who beat the Flames 5-0 at home on Monday night.
After that game earlier in the week which included a third period melee instigated by Calgary enforcer Eric Godard, the start of the this one lived up to expectations of a physical contest. Phaneuf and Edmonton captain Ethan Moreau dropped the gloves for a rematch just 75 seconds into the game.
Two more fights followed within the next 5 minutes including a spirited scrap between Calgary's Matthew Lombardi and Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid.
"It shows how our tight our team is," Nolan said. "There's a big scrum and our smallest guys are getting in there, whether or not they're outweighed or outmatched, they're giving it their all."
|Calgary Flames right winger Owen Nolan (11) celebrates one of the two goals that he notched against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008, in Calgary. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
Calgary went ahead 2-0 at 4:41 of the second period when Phaneuf ripped a low slap shot from the blue line that beat Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon just inside the goal post. The power-play goal came on Calgary's first man advantage of the night. The Flames began the day 1-for-19 with the extra man in their previous four games.
Nolan's second of the night at 12:44 increased the Flames lead to 3-0. The veteran winger darted down the side and ripped a high slap shot past Garon from 35 feet out.
"We have a big team but we don't always use that to our benefit," Nolan said. "We can be physical and play that way the whole game. We did it tonight and that's why we limited their shots, they didn't want to go in the corners."
Garon had 26 saves for the Oilers, who were limited to six shots in the first 40 minutes before finishing with 15.
"You don't want to stare at the shot clock too much because it can get demoralizing, especially when it was as lopsided as it was tonight," Moreau said. "We didn't provide much of an opponent tonight."
Nilsson spoiled Kiprusoff's shutout bid on a breakaway with 3:55 left in the game.
"I was happy with the way we answered the bell physically, but from a skilled perspective we failed early in the game," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We were looking most of the game for something good to happen to our hockey club and we were looking a long time.
"Finally we get a break in the third and the momentum changes in the game. But at that point it was too little too late."
Kiprusoff was looking for his first shutout in 59 games dating back to a 1-0 win over Minnesota last March 27.
Iginla added an empty-netter with 1:37 left in the game.
Notes: It was Nolan's fourth multigoal game of the season. He has scored once in a game five times. ... Kiprusoff has gone 50 starts at home without a shutout. His last one at the Pengrowth Saddledome was Jan. 9, 2007, a 3-0 win over Minnesota. ... Huselius has scored just once in the last 13 games after getting six goals in the five games prior to that stretch.