CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Losing on home ice to the rival Edmonton Oilers has never felt better for the Calgary Flames.
Although the Oilers got the 3-2 win Saturday night with Patrick Thoresen's go-ahead goal in the third period, it was the Flames that were celebrating after learning earlier in the evening that they had clinched a playoff spot.
Nashville's 4-2 victory over Colorado eliminated the Avalanche on Saturday night, giving Calgary the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla said after the game that the urgency in his team's play dropped off halfway through the game with the Oilers finishing the game with three unanswered goals to take the victory.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," said Iginla when asked if he was keeping an eye on the out-of-town scoreboard during the game. "I was curious but honestly, we were prepared before the game, expecting Colorado to win as they had been winning all their games. I saw it once and (Colorado) was up. Then I heard the crowd get pretty excited and you look up and to see that was a little surprising."
Iginla liked how the Flames played in the first 30 minutes when a playoff spot was still on the line.
"We had a real strong first half of the game and unfortunately we didn't finish it," Iginla said.
Tony Amonte and Marcus Nilson scored for Calgary. The Flames lost their third game in a row and will wrap up the regular season in Colorado on Sunday night.
Then, Calgary will face the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the playoffs.
"We've had some good games with them, they're a very skilled team, big on puck control, and we had a good series with them a few years ago," Iginla said.
Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid also scored for Edmonton, which finished its worst season since 1995-96 on a winning note, snapping a stretch of six straight losses and a team record-tying nine straight defeats on the road.
"I know what it's like when you make the playoffs, it's a tremendous relief and the game wasn't all that important for them after that, I'm sure," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "Nevertheless, we played a good game."
In its final 20 games, Edmonton was 2-17-1 and outscored 70-24.
"It's nice to get a win in our last game, especially the way we've been struggling lately. We came out and we played a great, enthusiastic game and that's one of the reasons why we won," Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson said.
Edmonton began its comeback at 14:56 of the second period when Hemsky snapped the Oilers' team-record scoreless streak on the power play. Edmonton had gone 207 minutes and 44 seconds without a goal since Raffi Torres' first-period goal last Sunday.
The Oilers' next goal took less than five minutes with Smid tying it at 2-2 with 10 seconds left in the second. Thoresen's game-winner at 11:16 of the third came on a give-and-go with fellow rookie Danny Syvret.
Nilson gave the Flames a 1-0 lead 36 seconds into the second period. The same line of Nilson, Amonte, and Stephane Yelle struck again eight minutes later with Amonte scoring his first goal in 20 games.
Notes: Calgary D Robyn Regehr (leg) was unable to play after getting hurt in the first period of Thursday night's loss in San Jose. Inserted in his spot after being a healthy scratch the previous seven games was rookie Mark Giordano. Also unable to play for Calgary was RW Jeff Friesen (torso)... Edmonton's power play finished the season 4-for-67 over the final 20 games... Calgary finished 30-9-2 at home, tied for its second-best home record in franchise history. The top mark of 32-4-4 came in 1988-89, the year Calgary won its only Stanley Cup... 2001-02 is the only season that both Calgary and Edmonton have missed the playoffs.