-- The Calgary Flames
kept their playoff hopes alive against the Edmonton Oilers
at Rexall Place Saturday, battling back from a 4-1 deficit with three third-period goals on the way to a 5-4 shootout win in the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta.
Losers of three straight games, the Flames got goals from Jarome Iginla
, Curtis Glencross
and former Oiler Steve Staios in a span of 12 minutes and 10 seconds before getting two points they absolutely needed on a goal by Alex Tanguay
and three saves by Miikka Kiprusoff
"That's as good as a game has felt all year," said Iginla. "We could have just packed it in when we were down 4-1. Those aren't easy games. We know Edmonton doesn't have a ton to lose and they're young and they're playing with that excitement to knock a rival off. Hopefully, we have life now and we just keep going."
Iginla sparked the comeback with his second goal of the game as the Flames won for just the second time in their last eight games to move within one point of the eighth-place Chicago Blackhawks.
"It was a tough game," said Kiprusoff, who gave up four goals on 21 shots, but didn't give the Oilers anything in the shootout. "What we did tonight was big. They had a huge lead there and we were able to push back. After that fourth goal, I don't think I had to make any saves there, maybe a couple of easy ones."
It was a stunning defeat for the Oilers, who lost for the ninth straight time in a game they looked to be in control of with less than 17 minutes left in regulation time.
"We didn't necessarily take shifts off, but we didn't execute for maybe three shifts in the third period and they capitalized," said Ryan Jones
, who scored the 4-1 goal. That's the way the game goes. It seems like we've been saying that a lot, but we battled. We took it to a shootout and it was just a matter of not executing."
Edmonton got the jump when Magnus Paajarvi
, who had a shot trickle behind Kiprusoff, only to see it cleared off the goal line by Robyn Regehr five minutes into the game, scored the lone goal of the first period. He had his shot stopped by Kiprusoff, but banged in his own rebound for his 12th goal at 15:24.
Shortly after the Flames emerged for the second period, they knew Anaheim had beaten Chicago 2-1 to vault into seventh place with 89 points, one up on the Blackhawks in eighth. Dallas, one point up on Calgary and in ninth place to start the night, lost 4-2 to Nashville.
If they could rally to beat the Oilers, the Flames would overtake Dallas for ninth and move within a point of Chicago. This, however, was a bit more dramatic than anybody had in mind.
"We knew they were going to compete hard. We knew they wanted to knock us off," Iginla said. "They were playing hard and free and loose and we were tight. We started watching them. As soon as you get tight, your legs stop moving and you mind stops working as quick as it can. We did that for two periods."
Iginla reached the 35-goal plateau for the eighth time in his career when blew a slap shot from the point past Devan Dubnyk
on a power play 8:22 into the second period to make it 1-1, but the Flames stayed even for just 59 seconds.
Finnish rookie Teemu Hartikainen
, playing just his fifth game with Edmonton since being recalled from Oklahoma City, scored his first NHL goal when he out-muscled two Calgary defenders and snapped a shot high past Kiprusoff on the short side to make it 2-1 at 9:21.
With rookie Jeff Petry
penalized for closing his hand on the puck, Colin Fraser, who hadn't scored in 50 games -- since Nov. 12 in a 4-3 loss to New Jersey -- took a Mikael Backlund
turnover and sifted a shot between Kiprusoff's pads 26 seconds before the second intermission.
When Jones made it 4-1, this time off a turnover by Regehr, Rexall Place was bedlam and Calgary's playoff hopes seemed to be fading fast.
But Iginla cut it to 4-2 on a power play at 5:55, then Glencross narrowed it to 4-3 at 12:09 after a turnover by Jim Vandermeer
"We kind of took our foot off the gas and kind of waited to see what they were going to do," Vandermeer said. "They brought the pressure and we didn't handle it very well."
Staios forced overtime at 18:05 when he raced in from the point and pounded a loose puck behind Dubnyk.
"We knew our season was on the line and we had to find a way to come back in this game," Staios said. "We hadn't played our best and we knew we had to give it a push."