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Oilers End 2006 with Loss in Calgary

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers got off to a fast start when Ryan Smyth was sprung in alone by Joffrey Lupul 20 seconds into the game. Smyth's first shot attempt was stopped by the left pad of Miikka Kiprusoff. The rebound was also denied by the Flames netminder.

Roloson made a big save four minutes into the game when Jarome Iginla redirected a pass from the top of the crease.

Several minutes later, the Flames struck for their first goal of the night. Kristian Huselius found Iginla in the high slot and he one-timed it low just inside the left post.

Edmonton's line of Hemsky, Sykora and Horcoff tried to get that goal back on the next shift. Both Hemsky and Horcoff had good chances at point-blank range but Kiprusoff came up with a pair of big saves to keep his team in front.

Calgary scored again just before the midway point of period one. Roloson went behind the net to play the puck but had it stripped of him by Iginla. The Flames winger then threw it in front to Langkow who put it into the open net.

At the 13-minute mark, Andrew Ference caused some interference on Jarret Stoll in the Calgary zone as the Oilers were pressuring to put Edmonton on their first power play of the game.

On the ensuing power play, the Oilers managed several shots from the outside on Kiprusoff but couldn't generate a good scoring opportunity despite being able to move the puck relatively well.

With four minutes left in the first, head coach Craig MacTavish did some line juggling. He put the line of Hemsky, Horcoff and Smyth back together as well as shuffling Lupul to a line with Sykora and Reasoner.

Shots after one were 10-8 for the Flames.

Calgary started the second period on the power play and didn't take long to capitalize, extending their lead to 3-0.

Dion Phaneuf took the puck at the blueline and wristed it past a screened Roloson, beating him five hole.

Two minutes later, the Oilers had a power play and capitalized. Smyth deflected a point shot from Daniel Tjarnqvist top corner past Kiprusoff to close the gap to two goals once again.

It took Calgary just over a minute to regain their three-goal lead as Chuck Kobasew was driving to the Flames' net when Alex Tanguay threaded the puck to the slot. Kobasew tapped it in past Roloson for the goal.

Hemsky almost scored the Oilers' second goal while on the power play as his wrist shot from the right circle rang off the far post behind Kiprusoff.

On that same power play, Roloson had some trouble on a Daymond Langkow shot from centre ice as it just squeeked through his pads but went wide of the net on the other side, just missing the goalmouth.

Shots in the second were 10-6 Oilers and 18-16 for Edmonton overall through two periods.

Horcoff had a breakaway opportunity about eight minutes into the third. He was hooked from behind by Dion Phaneuf but still managed to get a shot away. Kiprusoff made the save with his right pad.

Phaneuf received two minutes for hooking on the play and 17 seconds later Stephane Yelle was sent off for tripping, giving Edmonton a two-man advantage.

The Oilers moved the puck well on the power play and eventually converted for their second of the game. Stoll blasted the puck on net and Smyth was right there to redirect it past Kiprusoff.

Roloson made some big stops in the latter half of the third to keep his team in the game. With Calgary on the power play, he stopped Iginla and Yelle on two different opportunities. Yelle actually managed to sneak the puck by him but Kobasew was in the crease so it was disallowed.

With 2:40 left, Stoll barrelled towards the Calgary net with a chance to make it a one-goal game but couldn't get a handle on the puck in-close as he crashed into Kiprusoff. Yelle tripped up the trailer on the play, giving Edmonton a late power play to try and get back in the game.

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