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Gaudreau, Flames hand Oilers ninth straight loss

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames continue to build momentum thanks in large part to rookie Johnny Gaudreau.

The 21-year-old scored twice in 16 seconds to record his second consecutive multi-goal game and Jonas Hiller made 26 saves to lead the Flames to a 4-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

"I'm pretty excited about getting the chance to score some goals," said Gaudreau, who has scored six of Calgary's past 10 goals. "They weren't coming throughout the first 20, 30 games of the season. I was kind of a slow start but it's nice to see the puck going in the net for us."

Joe Colborne also scored for Calgary (19-15-3), which has rebounded to win back-to-back games, including the opener of a six-game homestand after going without a win in eight straight. The Flames won 4-3 in overtime last Monday at the Los Angeles Kings, orchestrating a come-from-behind victory courtesy of Gaudreau's first career hat trick.

"I'm just glad to help the team get some wins," Gaudreau said. "We weren't scoring too many goals in that two- or three-week span. It's just good to see guys scoring and putting the puck in the net."

The Oilers (7-22-7), who had won three straight in Calgary entering the game Saturday, have lost nine in a row (0-7-2) and have one win in their past 21 games. Edmonton has one victory in 25 games this season against Western Conference opponents.

"I thought our start wasn't bad at all, and that stretch where we basically gave them three goals and didn't make them earn it," said Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson, who is still searching for his first win behind Edmonton's bench since taking over for Dallas Eakins on Dec. 15. "They capitalized, which is a credit to them, but we can't shoot ourselves in the foot like that."

It took the Flames seven minutes to record their first shot on goal but when they did, they made quick work of Oilers starting goalie Viktor Fasth.

Paul Byron burst into the Edmonton zone and tried to send a centering pass into the slot that bounced off Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and on net. Fasth couldn't find the rebound before Colborne, who tucked his first of the season across the goal line to put Calgary up 1-0 at 7:08 and snap a 26-game goal-less streak dating back to last season.

"I was just driving the net. [Byron] pulled up and centered it and I was just able to read the rebound and get a quick one back on net before he could recover," Colborne said. "Not the way you draw it up, but I'll take it. Hopefully the second one comes a lot sooner than the first one did."

At 8:32, Gaudreau extended that lead with his first of two.

Under pressure, Oilers forward Mark Acrobello threw a cross-zone pass that David Perron batted out of mid-air, but it went back into the slot for Gaudreau, who slipped a backhand five-hole to put Calgary up 2-0 at 8:32.

Off the ensuing draw, TJ Brodie corralled the puck behind his own net before spotting Jiri Hudler up ice. Gaudreau scooped up the puck from Hudler at Edmonton's blue line and went in alone on Fasth. Gaudreau fumbled a deke that found its way between Fasth's legs to extend Calgary's lead to three at 8:48.

"That two or three weeks there where we weren't winning games, it's just that we weren't getting our bounces," Gaudreau said. "You see in the L.A game, I got a bounce off the skate and tonight, I got another bounce. Too many stickhandles, and it popped right in the net through the five-hole. It's good to get those bounces every once in a while."

The goal, Gaudreau's 12th of the season and sixth in his past three games, chased Fasth after six shots.

"I've got to stop at least one of those to keep us in the game, but I didn't,” Fasth said. "That's what I would have liked to have done.

"We've got to keep working and for myself too, I've got to play better. So do we all in here. We've just got to work harder and look forward to the next game."

Edmonton managed to hold Calgary to three shots on goalie Ben Scrivens in the second, but the Oilers couldn't solve Flames goalie Jonas Hiller, who made 13 saves in the period but faced few quality chances.

The Oilers did get one past Hiller 4:23 into the third period after Justin Schultz's wrist shot from the point deflected off Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and behind Hiller to cut the lead to 3-1.

But Curtis Glencross restored the three-goal lead with 9:43 remaining in regulation when he took a no-look pass from Matt Stajan from below the goal line and beat Scrivens, who made 19 saves in relief.

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