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Raymond's hat trick lets Flames ruin Oilers' reunion

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON Calgary Flames left wing Mason Raymond put a damper on the Edmonton Oilers' 1984 reunion party with his third career hat trick Thursday at Rexall Place.

Raymond scored the Flames' first goal, their go-ahead goal and an insurance goal in a 5-2 win against the Oilers. Jiri Hudler and TJ Brodie also scored for the Flames.

"Of course it is nice to contribute and be a part of the win," Raymond said. "But those two points were huge for us. It got us in the win column and trending in the right direction. Those two points are huge for us heading out on the road, especially after losing our first game at home."

Teddy Purcell and Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers, who will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first championship team with a reunion Friday at Rexall Place. The 1984 team included Hockey Hall of Fame members Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey and Glen Sather, all of whom were in attendance for the Oilers' season opener.

Flames goaltender Karri Ramo made 38 saves; Ben Scrivens made 21 for the Oilers.

"Ramo was great [Thursday]," Raymond said. "I don't know if we would have had the win without him. He made some key stops at key times. After that, we took care of the rest of the rebounds."

Raymond gave the Flames the lead at 3:16 of the first period, tipping a shot by Mark Giordano over Scrivens' right shoulder.

One minute later, Hudler put the Flames up 2-0 after he was left alone in front of the net following a turnover in the corner. Oilers defenseman Mark Fayne lost possession of the puck, which eventually came to Flames center Sean Monahan, who spotted Hudler in the slot.

"We came out of the gates a little tight and we gave up a lot of opportunities and they capitalized," Purcell said. "I thought we did a good job of staying composed and sticking to our game plan. We had a lot of chances, we just didn't capitalize. The mistakes we made, they exposed us, and that's why they won."

Purcell cut the lead to 2-1 with his first goal as an Oiler, connecting on a power play at 12:59. He took a cross-ice pass from David Perron and beat Ramo.

Hall tied the game 11:25 into the second period, converting on a two-man advantage. The left wing took a pass from center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and one-timed a shot past Ramo.

Minutes after Hall's goal, Oilers defenseman Brad Hunt came close to giving them the lead when he hit the crossbar with a point shot.

"We feel like we came with the right game plan and, for the most part, executed," Hall said. "That [slow start] happens. You're not always going to come into the room up. Those things happen, and I thought we did a pretty good job of recovering and sticking to our game plan throughout the game. We definitely gave up some Grade A chances, that's for sure, but hope to shore those up and keep doing the things we did well."

The Oilers outshot the Flames 11-4 in the second period and appeared to have the momentum going into the third. Edmonton was outshooting Calgary 25-11 after two periods.

"I thought we had a ton of good in our game," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I can't remember being that good offensively last year, maybe a couple of times, but off the top of my head, I can't remember them, and I would. I thought our power play was excellent, I thought our penalty kill was good. ... The mistakes we made ended up in our net, and we're going to learn our lessons from that and move forward."

Raymond restored the Flames' lead at 4:23 of the third, finding space along the right wing and firing a shot over Scrivens' glove.

Raymond scored his third at 14:42, fighting off Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz and converting a cross-crease pass from Hudler. Brodie scored the Flames' fifth goal at 19:20, a little more than a minute after Oilers left wing Benoit Pouliot was sent off for slashing.

"It is great for [Raymond], it is great to see him get those goals," Flames center Mikael Backlund said. "Just like me, he missed most of camp, so it is nice to see him get a confidence boost.

"They took over the game for the second half of the first and were all over us in the second period. But we regrouped as a team, and I thought we took over the third. We had to play more simple and win more battles. Ramo stood on his head and saved the game for us."

The Flames play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday in the second game of a six-game road trip. The Oilers begin a three-game trip Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

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