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Flames rally past Oilers for 11th straight home win

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have set a new standard at home.

Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano each scored twice to help the Flames to their franchise-record 11th consecutive home victory, 5-3 against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday.

"It's huge. We love playing at home," Gaudreau said. "We're pretty comfortable playing here. It's a good atmosphere, and a lot of fun playing here. It's been helping us in the standings."

Karri Ramo made 28 saves and Matt Stajan also scored for Calgary (17-16-2), which broke the previous team record of 10 straight home wins, set from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, 2006. The Flames haven't lost at the Saddledome since Oct. 30.

"We're proud of that," Stajan said. "At the start of the year we struggled on home ice. That's not like us. This is a place we need to win hockey games. When we came for that big homestand, I think we played Dallas … we had a meeting. It wasn't just about winning games at home. We've got to start stringing a bunch of wins together. Home ice is going to be key and we were able to do that. It's a comfortable place for us. It has been, even in the playoffs last year. I think we're going to rely on this to be a place for us to hopefully give us some wiggle room here down the stretch to gain some points and get into the playoff picture."

Gaudreau has five goals in his past two games; he has 15 goals and 22 points during Calgary's 11-game winning streak at home. Only Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars (31) and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (30) have more points at home than Gaudreau's 29.

"I think just altogether, including myself and throughout everyone in the locker room, I think we're playing a lot harder right now," Gaudreau said. "When you do that and do the little things right you find the net. I've got a couple squeaky ones that I was fortunate enough to get in the net. I've been shooting a little bit more and finding the net a little bit more."

Benoit Pouliot had two goals and Teddy Purcell also scored for the Oilers (15-19-3), who have lost five straight road games. Edmonton plays its next six games at home.

"Obviously they capitalized on their power play and they got one shorthanded," Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "Special teams, we lost that battle tonight. We did a lot of good things, but we can't afford little mental mistakes here and there, especially against a team that we know can capitalize like that."

Calgary's special teams helped the Flames climb back into the game in the second period.

With Joe Colborne in the penalty box, Stajan batted a rebound off Markus Granlund's initial shot out of midair and past Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson at 12:52. It was Calgary's first shorthanded goal of the season. The Flames' penalty kill is last in the NHL at 74.2 percent but hasn't allowed a goal in six straight games.

The goal, Stajan's second of the season, came 2:31 after Purcell put Edmonton up 3-1.

"I think it was big just for the way the momentum of the game was going," he said. "They had just scored a big goal at the end of our power play. It was nice to get that one back right away, especially coming here after Christmas break. You're trying to get your legs under you. Momentum is a big thing."

Giordano's first power-play goal at 16:47 tied the game 3-3. After Jiri Hudler gained the zone, Giordano one-timed a pass from Dennis Wideman past Nilsson. Calgary's power play has scored in three consecutive games but is still last in the NHL at 13.0 percent.

Gaudreau's second goal of the game gave Calgary a 4-3 lead. After picking up a turnover by Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz in the slot, Gaudreau beat Nilsson glove-side for his team-leading 17th goal with 31.1 seconds remaining in the period.

"He's a special player. I was talking to [Lance Bouma] on the bench during the game when Johnny did one of his 360 moves," Stajan said. "We're playing with a special player here. I think everybody here sees it every night. Here and now he's really feeling it. He's a big reason, probably the biggest reason, for our success here lately on home ice and in general."

Nilsson made 26 saves before Cam Talbot relieved him to start the third period.

Giordano scored his second power-play goal of the game with two minutes remaining, snapping a shot that beat Talbot short-side. It's the first time the Flames have scored multiple power-play goals in the same game this season.

"Lately we've been moving it well and getting some goals and confidence just keeps growing," Giordano said. "It's just like our overall game."

Pouliot scored on back-to-back shots late in the first period to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead.

He tipped a backhand by Jordan Eberle from the high slot past Ramo at 16:21 to put the Oilers ahead. After getting tangled with Bouma on his next shift, Pouliot drove to the net in time to redirect a pass from Nugent-Hopkins into the net at 18:11.

"It's frustrating," Pouliot said. "Getting a lead like that on the road's not easy to get and it's even harder to keep and we didn't do the job after. It's not that we played bad. It's just a matter of little mistakes here and there and they cost us."

Gaudreau's first of the game, a wrist shot from the slot on a setup by TJ Brodie, cut the deficit to one at 3:10 of the second period. But Purcell restored the two-goal lead at 10:21, beating Ramo with a low shot on a breakaway from center ice after Giordano and Dougie Hamilton were caught in the Edmonton zone

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