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Flames burn Oilers 4-1

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.


EDMONTON - Seeking revenge after last week's home-and-home set, the Calgary Flames did just that, handing the Edmonton Oilers their fifth straight defeat on Saturday night at Rexall Place

Sven Baertschi, Tim Jackman and TJ Brodie each recorded multi-point nights, Max Reinhart collected his first-career NHL goal and Joey MacDonald made 28 saves in a 4-1 win.

Lennart Petrell scored the Oilers' lone goal and Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves in the loss.

"That's an effort isn't going to win you games at the NHL level," said Taylor Hall, who did not register a point but led the Oilers with nine shots on goal. "Teams like that are going to work hard and finish out the season with pride. They're not going to quit and we have to do the same thing. It's in our DNA, it's what we get paid to do.

"Efforts like that don't go over well with anyone."

Linemates Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have not recorded a point in five games now. During the winning streak leading up to this down stretch, the trio combined to collect 32 points.

"We play 20 minutes a night and we don't have a goal -- it's embarrassing," said Hall. "We have to produce. I'm not sure if we'll be together for the next game, but it's really sad. This was a stretch where we would have won two out of five, we'd still be in the thick of things.

"Instead we've lost five in a row and we're out of it now."

With the loss, Edmonton's record drops to 16-18-7. The 12th-place Oilers have seven games left in the 2012-13 season and are six points back of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Flames got off to a quick start by scoring 26 seconds into the game. After settling Baertschi's pass at the doorstep, an untouched Mikael Backlund picked the corner on Khabibulin to establish an early 1-0 lead.

The Oilers' response was quick, tallying the early equalizer 1:27 later. A Ryan Jones centering pass redirected off Dennis Wideman's skate and into the slot where a lurking Petrell pounced, punching the puck past MacDonald to record his third of the season.

"We felt pretty good at that point, but I don't know why it didn't transfer to rest of the game and show in the score," said Petrell.

With momentum on their side, the Oilers appeared to make it a 2-1 game near the six-minute mark. Leading the charge on an odd-man rush with Nail Yakupov, Sam Gagner backhanded a cross-slot pass to the rookie, who, through the use of his right skate, one-touched the pass by the helpless netminder.

The play required video review, however, and it was determined after a lengthy look that Yakupov kicked the puck into the net. As a result, the score remained in a 1-1 tie.

Penalties to Nick Schultz (hooking) and Ladislav Smid (cross-checking) gave the Flames a 12-second 5-on-3 late in the period. Calgary pressed hard, littering the lanes with bodies and quick point shots, but Edmonton survived the push.

In a 1-1 game, the Flames led 15-11 in shots after 20.

"We didn't put forth a good enough effort tonight," said captain Shawn Horcoff. "They're a proud team and coming off the last two games (vs. Calgary, 4-1 and 8-2 wins), we knew they were going to come out hard and we weren't desperate enough.

"That's not who we are. Tonight, for every one of us out there, was embarrassing.

"Plain and simple."

Made possible by Tim Jackman's effort in beating Nick and Justin Schultz wide, Wideman put the Flames up 2-1 with a power-play goal 1:55 into the second period.

Less than four minutes later, Calgary extended its lead as Sven Baertschi collected a loose puck in the slot and wired a wicked snap shot past Khabibulin, recording his first goal of the season in his 14th game.

The Oilers went back to the man-advantage with 5:30 remaining in the second as some skillful stick work by Yakupov resulted in a hooking penalty to Jiri Hudler. Edmonton was unable to generate a shot on the power-play, however, and the 3-1 game continued.

Edmonton was given another power-play to start the third period as Reinhart was charged for tripping with one tick left in the second but, once again, the Oilers couldn't cash.

The Flames extended their lead to 4-1 at 10:18 when Reinhart scored after wiring a wrist shot past Khabibulin, registering his first goal in just his fifth NHL game.

"It's not the script we were planning for," said Head Coach Ralph Krueger. "We took ourselves out of it.

"The fans deserved a much better game than that. We really, really have to look ourselves in the mirror here. There are still seven games ahead of us and we have some serious analysis to do right now."

The Oilers will be back in action on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.

-- Ryan Dittrick, | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick
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