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Under the Scope: Oilers at Flames

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

It was a must-win game for the hometown Calgary Flames. A loss to Edmonton Wednesday night would have eliminated them from post-season contention. With the stakes high and pressure packed to the brim, perpetual energy exuded inside Scotiabank Saddledome as the Flames looked to do their part. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 41 shots, but six Flames goals including a Jarome Iginla hat-trick netted a 6-1 loss for the visiting Oilers.

The Flames came out blazing, peppering Khabibulin with 20 opening period shots when the Oilers could only respond with three. Although the Oilers netminder would turn them all aside, he was only delaying the inevitable. Calgary scored three goals in the second and third periods to accumulate the decisive 60-minute advantage.

The Oilers were able to get on the board late in the third when Magnus Paajarvi recorded his 15th goal of the season. Although Edmonton would bring the shot count closer, Calgary concluded the night with a 47-23 edge.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Despite being in possession of a commanding shot advantage (20-3), the Flames were unable to solve Nikolai Khabibulin through 20 minutes. In a must-win situation, Calgary's unrelenting offensive attack continued into the middle frame. With Linus Omark in the box serving a minor penalty for too many men, the Flames were presented with a power-play opportunity to snap the 0-0 stalemate. Rene Bourque curled from behind the net where he slide one past Khabibulin, putting the home side up 1-0. The Oilers were unable to respond, ultimately dropping a 6-1 decision to their rivals.

44 Edmonton could only manage a 40% success rate in the faceoff circle tonight. Liam Reddox led his squad with an impressive 4-1, 80% outing.
18 Although the Flames concluded the evening with 47 shots on goal, another 18 were blocked by the Oilers en route to the Edmonton net.
+1 Despite the 6-1 setback, both Andrew Cogliano and Jeff Petry were able to record plus-one ratings vs. Calgary.
16 Although Calgary carried the play for much of the evening, the Flames gave the puck away 16 times. In contrast, Edmonton recorded only five giveaways on the night.
0 Lance Bouma was the only Flames player that was unable to record at least one shot on goal tonight.

Jarome Iginla
G A P +/- Shots
3 1 4 +2 7

Alex Tanguay
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 +2 3

Mikael Backlund
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 +2 4

Miikka Kiprusoff
23 22 1 59:51 .957

Nikolai Khabibulin
47 41 6 60:00 .872

Jay Bouwmeester - D

23:28 - 1A, E rating

Chris VandeVelde - F

21:48 - 0P, -2 rating

Late in the second period when the Oilers needed a spark, a scoring chance arose when Teemu Hartikainen snuck behind the Flames defence with a burst of speed. The rookie forward was then accompanied by Theo Peckham who helped create a two-on-one opportunity. Hartikainen threaded a pass across that was promptly one-timed by Peckham on goal. Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff made a dazzling sliding save as he denied Peckham with his right blocker, preserving Calgary's 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard.

Leaders lead and great players rise when their team needs him the most. Jarome Iginla did that tonight in a must-win situation for his Calgary Flames. Iginla notched a hat-trick on the evening, upping his total to 42 on the season to help lead his club to a dominating 6-1 victory over the Oilers. Seven shots on goal and an additional assist to cap his four-point evening told the story of an overall excellent performance. Coming into Wednesday's game, Iginla had recorded 71 points in 81 career games vs. Edmonton.

Although Nikolai Khabibulin would ultimately surrender six goals in the loss, his opening period heroics spurred opportunity as the Oilers looked to establish some momentum. In total, Khabibulin turned aside 20 Calgary shots through 20 minutes. Edmonton, on the other hand, was only able to accumulate three in the one-sided stanza. The Flames' potent attack was on display throughout the entire 60 minutes, but Khabibulin's strong play provided his team with a chance as the second period got underway.

Steve MacIntyre's 1:16 of ice-time in the opening period represented the lowest total on his team. What he was able to accomplish in that limited action was, perhaps, most impressive. Midway through the frame, MacIntyre set his sights on Flames forward Matt Stajan. Edmonton's number 33 followed through with a viciously clean hit that sent his counterpart heavily into the side-boards near the player benches. Stajan showed no ill-effects from the crunch, but an early tone was set from the physical force.

A depleted Oilers squad was at a disadvantage tonight when compared to the hungry Flames and their talented captain. Jarome Iginla came into tonight's game having recorded more points in his career (1000) than the entire Oilers roster combined (807).

Unfortunately for the visitors, his margin was extended this evening in the 6-1 loss.

"I hate making excuses for anything, so I'll just come out and say we played like crap."

-  Veteran defenceman Jim Vandermeer bluntly summarizes his team's effort in the 6-1 loss to Calgary.

Friday April 8 vs. Minnesota
  7:00pm MDT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

The Oilers return home to Edmonton to play the last game of the season at Rexall Place as the Minnesota Wild roll into town. The action gets underway on Friday at 7:00pm MDT and will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet West.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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