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Flames hold off Oilers for first win of season

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- A visit from their biggest rival was just what the Calgary Flames needed to get their first win of the new season.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a goal, an assist and was on ice for all four of his team's goals as the Flames continued their mastery of the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome with a 4-3 victory on Saturday night.

Beating the Oilers means a little extra to Bouwmeester, an Edmonton native.

"It's fun playing them," Bouwmeester said. "It's almost [more fun] playing them there because you have all your friends and your family there and all that, but I grew up there, I know what the rivalry is like. I was never a big Oiler fan growing up but I have a lot of friends that are. My brother-in-law is probably the biggest one, so it's nice when we can beat them."

The Flames' first win in four games this season was also their 12th in the Oilers' last 13 visits to Calgary.

"We couldn't seem to get anything going and games are going to be like that sometimes," goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "This is a tough building to play in and they're a good hockey team – especially at home. We always have tough games here so we need to understand that it might have to be a greasy one."

Though the Oilers are 2-2-0 this season, they have yet to lead at any point in a game, covering a span of 248 minutes and one second. Edmonton's two wins have come in a shootout at Vancouver and in overtime against Los Angeles -- and they had to come from behind in both games.

"Getting behind all the time - especially on the road - you're going to have trouble consistently taking points out of that so we need to rectify that and work on that quickly," coach Ralph Krueger said.

The Flames wasted little time getting the jump on Krueger's Oilers in the latest renewal of the Battle of Alberta.

After breaking through the slot, Michael Cammalleri took a weak backhander that didn't make it to Dubnyk. But with the puck loose in the crease, Mikael Backland was able to poke the rebound under the sprawled goaltender and into the net to make it 1-0 just 5:16 into the game.

Bouwmeester made it 2-0 at 14:25, three seconds after a cross-checking penalty to Darcy Hordichuk expired, when his shot squeaked through the legs of Dubnyk and trickled over the goal line.

The Oilers got one goal back just five seconds after Curtis Glencross was called for goaltender interference. Justin Schultz let go a wrister from the point that snuck through Miikka Kiprusoff with 40.6 seconds left in the period to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Calgary regained its two-goal lead 3:59 into the second period on a play set up by Jarome Iginla. Calgary's captain came in on an odd-man rush and fed a pass through the skates of teammate Alex Tanguay onto the stick of Glencross, who atoned for his earlier penalty by tapping the puck across the goal line for his third of the season.

The Oilers got their second power-play goal of the night at 8:47 to make it a one-goal game again. With Mark Giordano in the box for tripping, Jordan Eberle danced through Calgary's Cory Sarich and Matt Stajan while cutting through the slot, then wired a wrister past Kiprusoff to make it 3-2.

With an assist on the play, Shawn Horcoff tied Esa Tikkanen for eighth on the Oilers' all-time scoring list with 436 points.

The Flames answered with a power-play goal of them own. Bouwmeester faked a pass, walked about a stretched-out Ladislav Smid and found Lee Stempniak parked on the doorstep for a tap-in at 14:57. Jiri Hudler, signed as a free agent last summer, earned the second assist for his first point as a member of the Flames.

"[Stempniak] was wide open in front of the net," Bouwmeester said. "I couldn't get it to him right away so I had to go around."

The Flames protected the lead by allowing just one shot through the first 13 minutes of the third period. Dubnyk kept the Oilers in the game in the 14th minute when rookie Roman Cervenka took a pass from Hudler in the slot only to see Dubnyk make the stop with his blocker. Less than a minute later, Dubnyk flashed his right pad to deny a streaking Glencross on a 2-on-1 break.

Sam Gagner, who scored the overtime winner against Los Angeles, scored with 1.4 seconds left in the game, but the Oilers had no time to get the equalizer.

The win marked the first for coach Bob Hartley, who joined the Flames organization in the offseason.

"The players gave me the game puck and I would like to share that with the fans, because I know we went three months without hockey… this win is for us, but also for our great fans," he said.

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