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Split Squad Recap: Oilers Beat Flames

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Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Before I start, I have to say that this blackout restriction for the streams is a disaster of an idea. It resulted in only myself being able to write a recap. Luckily another blogger has agreed to step up and cover the game in Calgary because believe it or not, I can only watch one game at a time. Well, I had the Giants/Lions game in the background but only saw enough of it to see Manning get sacked 800 times and Marshall drap 3 passes. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Oilers @ Flames

Paige has this covered for us on her own site twoforcrosschecking.ca. She did us a huge favor writing something up in this amount of time while we had nothing to offer for that game. She writes good articles with a personal touch. Feel encouraged to follow her on twitter @nooorzy and visit her blog often.

Flames @ Oilers

1st Period:

The ice barely has a chance to freeze before Mark Letestu opens the scoring. Caleb Jones takes a shot from the point, Iiro Pakarinen deflects the shot into Eddie Lack — Yes, the Flames think he’s an NHL quality goalie — who kicks the rebound right to Letestu. #55 makes no mistake and buries the puck into the open cage.

Less than 2 minutes later the Oilers are still buzzing. Connor McDavid decides that there’s nothing stopping him from taking the puck around the entire offensive zone twice. It leads to a good chance and I see the ref’s arm go up. I’m a little surprised because I didn’t see any infraction... The replay shows Curtis Lazar give a stick-tap to McDavid, that seems like a pretty weak call. That play happens 100 times per game after all, it’s not like they’re going to start calling that every time it happens, there’d be 17 powerplays per game if they did that... I think we can safely assume that that was a once in a lifetime call, but I don’t mind, we can see the Powerplay this way.

The Oilers dominate and keep the puck in the Flames end for the duration. 90 seconds in, Ryan Strome scores his first goal in an Oilers Jersey. Wooo!! Eberle who? Mcdavid throws it in front, Patrick Maroon whacks at the puck at the same time as Strome and it’s in the net. 2-0 Oil.

There is a 10-0 shot differential right now and this game has all the makings of a blow-out. The ref starts skating Flames’ Ryan Lomberg to the box. That’s weird, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. I just saw them lining up for the face-off and the usual 50-second delay of the linesman kicking players out and considering calling a false start to do it over. I hate so much that that happens, it slows the game down and.... wait... There’s no way... A face-off violation penalty? Did the NHL read my rant the other day? This is the best day ever!! Refs remembering that this rule exists is infinitely great for the game of hockey.

On this PowerPlay, McDavid stops skating with speed and refines his ‘I can do whatever I want with the puck’ skills and casually tries to set up his teammates for goals. He’s not even trying here and he’s better than every player on the ice by a mile. The ref’s arm goes up again... wait a minute. That was another one of those slashing calls. Ok guys, you’ve made your point, you’re going to call that on occasion, after this one I’m sure we’ll go back to what we’re accustomed.

The 5-on-3 powerplay sure doesn’t look like anything special as the first penalty expires. The Oilers never get set up and Caleb Jones takes an interference penalty on Ryan Lomberg. Oddly, Lomberg has shown up twice in this recap. That’s surprising given that I am not familiar with him in the slightest. Anyway it’s now 4-on-4

The next little bit was largely uneventful, McDavid has an end to end rush where he lets up and takes a weak backhand that Lack easily turns aside. He’s definitely not giving his all in this game and I don’t mind. Kassian gets a partial break after stripping the Flames defender at the Oilers blue-line. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do anything intelligent with it.

I just noticed that the home team is wearing white. Why is this?

The play-by-play analyst informs us that Nurse will be credited with an assist on the 2nd goal and promises to explain why when he has a chance. Not really sure why he didn’t explain right there, but ok, I’ll wait.

At the 14:50 mark, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extends the lead to 3. The Oilers dump it in behind the Flames net, Nuge comes up with it, comes out from the left side of the net and roofs a back-hand into the net. Actually, the replay shows that the Flames’ Michael Stone tried to poke-check RNH and ended up putting it into his own net. It’s not easy to shelf it like that with one hand, impressive.

A few minutes after the goal Mark Fayne gets called for a weak slash. Alright, this one is a make-up call. The Flames got two for this so it only makes sense that the refs would try and even it out in a 3-0 game. After this one though, it must go back to normal.

The Flames don’t do anything with their powerplay opportunity and end it prematurely by taking a too-many-men penalty. That was the end of the period.

2nd Period:

I used up a lot of the word count on the first period there, luckily the second was extremely boring and won’t require many. There were no goals. You can skip this section and go to the third unless you wish to read more of my musings ramblings.

The period recap shows that the 2nd goal is now Maroon from McDavid and Nurse. Sure would have been a shame for the play-by-play to tell me that instead.

To start off the period, the Flames get called for slashing. I’m starting to wonder if the ref forgot the other signals and is just letting other infractions go and making up for it with questionable slashes.

Darnell Nurse blasts a bunch of really good looking shots from the point on the powerplay, none go in. PP over.

Flames take a high-sticking penalty. Ok, so the ref does know other signals, this whole thing seems odd. On the powerplay, the Flames double down and shoot the puck over the glass. The refs confer, take a really long time, make it look like they won’t call it and then change their minds.

Oilers get another 5 on 3.

Oilers waste another 5 on 3.

Before the last penalty expires, Nurse completely loses his man while being focused on the break-out, a Flames player passes to Sam Bennet in the slot and Cam Talbot robs him multiple times. I love that this team finally has a goalie.

At the 10 minute mark, the teams change their Goalies. Talbot leaves perfect as Edward Pasquale replaces him and David Rittich ends the night for the shell-shocked Lack.

The teams exchange minor chances for the next few minutes and then Hunter Shinkaruk gets called for slashing. Ok, so slashing is a rule again. I was skeptical but I guess this is the new way. Until it costs a marquee team a game in October anyway.

Nothing happens on the powerplay, Eric Gryba gets called for, you guessed it, slashing and the Flames score as the period ends. Actually, it was after the period ends. Still 3-0 and the Oilers lead the shot count: 24-15.

3rd Period:

With the Flames still on the powerplay, they pin the Oilers in their own end for the majority of the opening minutes. Pasquale makes a snow angel in the crease to stop multiple Flames shots. Luckily the Oilers catch a break and Patrick Russell has a chance on a two-on-one for the Oil. He shoots wide and the announcer ensures us that this is a player fighting for a job and not Kris Russell who already has a 4-year contract. Gee bud, I’m really glad you reminded me of that contract’s existence. Either way, Flames don’t score on their powerplay.

The Flames get called for a penalty, it’s Emile Poirier this time. He get called for... You know what, it doesn’t matter. Forget about the reason he was penalized.

I’m watching the Oilers line up for a draw and quickly check twitter. The Oilers twitter page tells me that Letestu has scored his 2nd of the game to make it 4-0. That’s great, a regional blackout as well as a delay. I watched for 2 minutes before I got to see the goal, Strome passes to Maroon and Maroon finds Letestu in the right slot. He winds up and puts a rocket behind Rittich. It was a hard shot but I have a hard time imagining that it would beat an NHL goalie.

Not much happens for a while, the shots are getting a bit closer, Pasquale makes a few nice stops, etc.

The flames take their 10th penalty of the night, and then their 11th a 90 seconds later. Oilers get yet another 5 on 3. This time they actually score, Strome gets it from Maroon and McDavid. In case you can’t tell, I’m not enthusiastic about pre-season hockey.

The Flames score a minute later and add another to keep the score respectable. It didn’t matter the Oilers ran away with this one.

Final Score: 5-2

Next Game is Wednesday at the Jets. I wonder if slashing will still be a thing for that game.