Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals but Elias Lindholm's third-period power-play marker was the game-winner in a heated Battle of Alberta
CALGARY, AB - What was hyped as an enraged Battle of Alberta - Pacific Division implications and winning streaks on the line - came as publicized in a fired-up provincial showdown Saturday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
But it was the Oilers who came out on the losing end of it as Elias Lindholm's third-period power-play goal was the game-winner despite a two-goal performance by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in a 4-3 loss for the Orange & Blue.
With both sides bringing the heat right from puck drop, a boiling point was reached while tied at 3-3 in the 2nd when Matthew Tkachuk caught Zack Kassian with a hit behind the Flames' goal-line, prompting Kassian to challenge the Flames forward.
Tkachuk didn't oblige, causing Kassian to take a four-minute double-minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct.
It was on that power play - which continued into the third frame - where Lindholm found the back of the net from the half-wall to obtain the Flames' 4-3 lead.
"It's an emotional game. It's a battle. I wish we could have killed the penalty for him," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said post-game.
"There was a hit and a reaction. We had to kill a penalty and we didn't."
With the loss, the Oilers concluded their five-game road swing with a 3-1-1 record and had their three-game winning streak snapped.
"We'll take the seven out of 10 points," Connor McDavid, who caused the hockey world's jaw to drop once again with a sublime strike in the first, said.
"This was a big game for both sides and we wanted to find a way to get a big win here but we've been on the road 11 or 12 days here, we have a good chance to go and get four points before the (bye week and NHL All-Star) break."
Nugent-Hopkins scored his 11th and 12th of the season but sandwiched between them was McDavid's remarkable 25th.
The Oilers Captain caught the puck in the neutral zone and was away at the races, barrelling in on former Oilers keeper Cam Talbot all alone. No. 97 edged to his backhand but shot forehand, feathering the puck past Talbot for his 71st point.
Kailer Yamamoto picked up a pair of assists to earn his first multi-point outing of his career and Mikko Koskinen ended the night with 29 saves on 33 shots.
"I thought we had lots of try," Tippett said.
"We made some mistakes that cost us. For a game at the end of a road trip, we knew what was at stake in this game."
Leon Draisaitl collected his 70th point of the campaign with a helper as the Oilers will return home for a match against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
"I thought we played very well on the trip," Tippett, summarizing the jaunt, said. "This was the only game we didn't get points in. We went out and played some good hockey, and have ourselves right in the playoff hunt here.