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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Flames

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Although the Calgary Flames came into tonight's matchup on the second half of a back-to-back set, the visitors pushed the pace early to establish a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and a 19-3 shot advantage after one period of play. The Oilers were able to tie the game briefly in the second period on the back of a Ryan Jones goal, but Mark Giordano was quick to reply as the Flames once again took command of the game.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 28 saves on the night to help provide his team with a chance to win, but only 17 Oilers shots weren't enough to test Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. At the end of the night, the Flames escaped Rexall Place with their fourth consecutive victory while the Oilers fell in their sixth straight.

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

Ryan Jones' second period goal made it a 1-1 game at the time; a game in which the Oilers were heavily outplayed. The Flames, however, were quick to strike back and once again take control of the game on the scoreboard. Just 3:56 after the Oilers tied it up, Mark Giordano's deflected point shot found the back of the net to once again provide Calgary with a one goal advantage. As it turns out, this was the last of the offence for the night as the third period saw only 13 combined shots from the two teams as the Flames cruised to their fourth consecutive victory.

53 The Oilers won 53% of the draws tonight. Colin Fraser led the way for his club with a 6-2, 75% outing.
10 While the Oilers were only able to put 17 shots on Miikka Kiprusoff this evening, much of that could be credited to the defensive play of Calgary's Mark Giordano. The Flames blueliner blocked 10 shots tonight.
28 Blocked shots were major theme on this night, as the Oilers were able to block 28 of their own. Calgary responded with 23.
6 The Oilers have now dropped six consecutive games and will be looking to rebound this coming Tuesday when the Detroit Red Wings visit Rexall place.

Mark Giordano
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 5

Nikolai Khabibulin
30 28 2 58:50 .933

Jay Bouwmeester
G A P +/- Shots
0 1 1 E 1

Miikka Kiprusoff
17 16 1 60:00 .941

Nikolai Khabibulin
30 28 2 58:50 .933

Jay Bouwmeester - D

26:27 - 0P, -1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

25:58 - 1A, E rating

The Oilers' lone goal of the evening happened to be one of the game's most brilliant plays. With Jordan Eberle going down early in the second period to an ankle injury, Ryan Jones was thrust up the lineup into an offensive role. The rugged winger stepped up for a shift in place of Eberle and delivered with the tying goal at 10:19 of the middle frame. Dustin Penner set up Tom Gilbert on inside the faceoff circle to the right of Miikka Kiprusoff. Gilbert briefly collected the puck and then made a terrific backhanded pass to a wide-open Jones at the other side who one-timed the pass into the back of the net.

Calgary defenceman Mark Giordano had a terrific night for the Flames. The smooth-skating blueliner finished the night playing 23:16 of solid two-way defensive hockey. For his efforts, Giordano was also credited with the game-winning goal on the back of his late second period tally. In addition to everything else provided offensively, Giordano concluded the night with five shots on goal, one takeaway and an incredible 10 blocked shots. Much to the dismay of the Oilers, Giordano's effort tonight helped lead the Flames to victory.

The Oilers were out-shot 19-3 in the opening period with the Flames holding a slim 1-0 lead on the scoreboard. Khabibulin's 18 saves, many of them of the spectacular variety, kept the Oilers in the game and provided a chance for the Oilers to get back in it. Although the Oilers mustered a slight comeback as the game progresed, it was Khabibulin that provided a lift. Despite the loss, he totaled 28 saves on the night and was a real difference maker for the home side.

The Oilers struggled to engage a forecheck in the game's opening period and the Flames took advantage with a strong counter-attack game. Adam Pardy, in particular, relished the opportunity as he lined up Zack Stortini with crushing hip-check into the side boards. The glass rippled and the pair went violently to the ice as the Flames defenceman made solid contact. Unfortunately it was against the Oilers, but it was a tremendous hit that definitely set the tone for the evening.

If you eliminate all results in overtime or a shootout, the Oilers and Flames came into tonight's game with identical head-to-head records: 104-104 all-time.

"He certainly did everything he could to help us get in a game and ultimately stay in it. We just didn't have enough Ryan Joneses out there; work habits, he understands the game, he doesn't really change the game regardless of who he's playing with."

-  Head Coach Tom Renney on Ryan Jones tonight.

Tuesday, January 4 vs. Detroit
  7:00pm MT (TSN / 630 CHED)

Now having dropped six consecutive contests, the Oilers will be looking to respond Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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