It didn't start off pretty for the Edmonton Oilers. Despite the Flames trading away the best player in franchise history last week in Jarome Iginla and then deal minute eating defensemen Jay Bouwmeester just before the game, they were able to dictate the play early on. At one point in the first period, the Flames held an 8-1 shot advantage and had a couple of early quality scoring chances on Devan Dubnyk.
Fortunately, the Oilers put on a near repeat performance of Saturday night and scored at will early on. 3 goals on just 6 chased the starting goalie from the cage for the second game in a row and have put the Oilers just a single point out of 8th place in the Western Conference.
Justin Schultz got the Oilers on the board after he played the role of wandering salesman in the Calgary zone, completely losing his check. Hall grabbed the puck behind the net and circled up the boards and found a wide open Schultz who had enough time to make a pot of coffee before beating Miikka Kiprusoff clean on the blocker side. Often you'll see a player hurry their shot from that position, but Schultz has such fantastic instincts with the puck and he knew he had the time to get into a better shooting position.
The Oilers 2nd line bust Taylor Hall scored again after Justin Schultz did a fantastic job at keeping the puck in at the blueline, then finding a streaking Taylor Hall who made a quick move to the backhand and went shelf on Kiprusoff who gave up his second goal on just his second shot. In fairness to Kiprusoff, he didn't have a chance on either goal.
Justin Schultz managed to get a 3rd point on the night after Ryan Jones dropped Miikka Kipruoff's trade value with just an awful goal that he scored one handed from the side of the net. As much as the first 2 goals weren't his fault, the 3rd goal was a stinker to put the Flames down 3-0. Joey MacDonald would take over the Flames net after that goal and if this was Kiprusoff's last game as a Flame, it was a forgettable one.
Nail Yakupov scored his 1st goal in forever as he took a pass in the offensive zone from Jones and put a bullet through MacDonald for his 7th goal of the year and his second point of the night.
Devan Dubnyk made several good saves throughout the game, but was unable to stop Brian McGrattan's 3rd shot of the game, as he broke the shutout with just over 90 seconds left in the game. The 3 shots by McGrattan were the most he's had in a game since he got 4 against the Oilers (who else), on January 30th 2010. McGrattan seemed to be all over the ice for the Flames and appeared to be a part of several scoring chances for the Flames. Looking over his career, he puts a lot of pucks on net relative to the amount of ice time he gets. He's actually been a positive possession player the last few seasons, so maybe this shouldn't be much of a surprise.
The Oilers got off to a slow start possession-wise, but managed to score early and often against a team that's not getting any sort of goaltending and has just had it's heart and soul ripped out. The good news is that the Oilers are on a much needed winning streak. The bad news is they can't rely on this kind of early scoring too much and they need to come out much stronger than they did tonight, especially against a team like this. Once they settled in and got the early lead, they played a very strong game. They kept their forecheck going all game and never really sat back at all. The last 3 games have been a very positive sign, especially given the 3rd period leads they had blown just a couple of weeks ago.