"That was a playoff game tonight," said Oilers winger Patrick Maroon, who has 29 post-season games under his belt. "That was literally a playoff atmosphere, just how the neutral zone was clogged up and no one could get anywhere. That's how games are going to be the last two months and we've got to find ways to play through it and battle."
Maroon scored his 18th goal of the season and Cam Talbot made 24 saves, also stopping both Flames shooters he faced in the shootout, as the Oilers picked up two points in the form of a 2-1 win against their provincial rivals.
"It was tight-checking, very much playoff-like, it felt," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Very little space on the ice for both teams. You really had to work hard to make the other team err on both sides. Then the goaltenders played real well."
With 11:43 remaining in the first, Talbot made a post-to-post save on a 3-on-1 Flames opportunity. Sean Monahan was robbed by the netminder as he kept the game even.
"That always helps for the confidence moving forward in the game when you make a big save early and you just kind of build from there," said Talbot. "Big save in the game early and we didn't give them too much after that and found a way to win this one tonight."
Talbot continued his strong start, gloving down a point-blank power-play chance at 14:13 of the first.
The score did not change until 16:24 of the second period, when Oilers winger Patrick Maroon stuffed a loose puck in on the power play. Maroon's goal was his team-leading 18th of the season.
Shots were tied just 10-10 at the time of the goal.
The Oilers lead didn't last very long. The Flames responded, 26 seconds later, when Monahan potted a juicy rebound at the other end of the ice.
The third period was a bit more action packed, despite a lack of shots or goals, with Maroon almost getting his second past the midway point of the frame. Maroon walked in on net and nearly scored the go-ahead tally but the puck was turned to the side.
Dougie Hamilton took a roughing penalty away from the play to give Edmonton a power play with 5:24 remaining in regulation. The Oilers let the opportunity to close the game out slip away as they failed to capitalize.
As if there was any doubt, the game would go to overtime - a stark contrast from the 7-4 and 5-3 Oilers wins to open the season
"It was a lot more tight-checking than the first couple games," said Talbot. "The first couple games of the season were kind of pond hockey, but that was more of a playoff atmosphere. We knew neither team was going to budge much. We get another greasy one from Patty on the power play and we battled it out from there."
In OT, the Oilers carried the play for the opening minutes. Jordan Eberle had a breakaway but lost the puck wide. Later, Connor McDavid tried to stickhandle through the Flames then dropped the puck to Andrej Sekera. The defenceman fired a shot on net that was smothered by Brian Elliott.
Johnny Gaudreau hit the post for the Flames at the other end with less than a minute to go, and Elliott made a massive save on Maroon right in front as time was expiring, sending the late game to a shootout.
The Oilers registered six shots in overtime, while the Flames recorded none.
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was up first and scored off the glove of Elliott. Talbot denied Monahan at the other end. Mark Letestu beat Elliott to put the pressure on the Flames. Talbot stopped Gaudreau to win the game 2-1.
"You can tell with this group we're growing as a team," said Talbot. "These tough games, we believe we're going to come out on top as opposed to last year where maybe we found ways to lose, we're finding ways to win games. That's a good character win for us."
The Oilers (23-15-7) next host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, at 7 p.m. MT.