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Oilers take season opener

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Calgary got a great scoring chance early on as Jarome Iginla intercepted a pass at the Oilers blueline. Iginla wired a shot that Roloson knocked away with his blocker.

At the other end, Marc-Andre Bergeron had a scoring chance three minutes in. Bergeron teed up a shot from the left point and Kiprusoff had to be sharp in making the save.

The first penalty of the game went to Calgary's Dion Phaneuf for tripping at the 6:18 mark. The Oilers were unable to get anywhere near the Flames net after Calgary's penalty killers did a good job eating up the two minutes.

Edmonton's PK unit was almost as good after Patrick Thoresen took his first-ever NHL penalty. They also blanked the Flames on the shot clock with their only chance coming on an Iginla missed backhander.

After the penalty expired, the Oilers skated down the ice and had the game's best chance through 12 minutes of play. Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff had a two-on-one opportunity. Kiprusoff stopped Smyth's shot and Horcoff couldn't bat in the empty-net rebound out of mid-air.

With less than six minutes to go in the opening period, Jarome Iginla was upended while breaking toward the net and was awarded a penalty shot. The Flames forward opted to try a backhand deke but Roloson made a blocker save.

30 seconds later, the Oilers went down the ice and scored their first goal of the season. Ales Hemsky broke in along the right side and attempted to backhand the puck past Kiprusoff.

Petr Sykora then found the puck in the slot and lifted it past the Flames netminder, who was out of position.

Several minutes later, Tony Amonte and Iginla took penalties 30 seconds apart which meant that Edmonton was on a two-man advantage. This time, Sykora blasted a shot from the slot blocker side past Kiprusoff and Edmonton had a two-goal lead.

After one period of play, shots on goal were 9-7 for Calgary.

Miikka Kiprusoff made some big stops for the Flames early in the second. His biggest may have been on Raffi Torres after he was sprung on a partial break by Marty Reasoner. Torres teed up a shot from the left circle and Kiprusoff came out to challenge and make the save.

At the other end, Roloson made some big stops including a pair at point-blank range from Iginla while Edmonton was killing a penalty.

The Flames pressed for the goal, outshooting the Oilers 7-0 for a stretch.

Edmonton gained back some momentum near the midway point as the line of Hemsky, Sykora and Torres cycled the puck in the Calgary zone for nearly a minute. Their hard work paid off as Flames winger Chuck Kobasew hooked Sykora down, giving the Oilers a power play.

Near the end of the man advantage, Torres rifled a shot from the left circle that Kiprusoff snagged, stretching out to glove the puck down.

After two, the Flames had a 23-17 edge in shots.

Four minutes into the third, Petr Sykora upended Calgary's Darren McCarty to put the Flames up a man.

On the ensuing power play, the Flames came within inches of scoring their first of the night. Kristian Huselius was stationed to the right of Roloson and beat the Oilers netminder but it rang off the far post.

Ales Hemsky worked some magic midway through the third to set up Edmonton's third goal. Hemsky juked around in the Calgary zone before dropping the puck to Daniel Tjarnqvist. The defenceman blasted the puck top corner behind Kiprusoff to give the Oilers a three-goal edge.

The goal came with Roloson on the bench for a delayed penalty and Edmonton already on the power play.

Calgary finally struck for its first of the game and first of the season with 5:35 to play in the third. Daymond Langkow corralled the puck at the Oilers blueline before dishing a cross-ice pass to Iginla. The Calgary captain then wired a wrist shot high glove side past Roloson.

Animosities erupted with five seconds left, setting the stage for Saturday's rematch. Calgary tried to get a late goal but Roloson and the Oilers took exception to Amonte jamming the net and as a result a skirmish took place.
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