The Edmonton Oilers edged out a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday night. It was a defensive battle that lacked the usual flair of last year’s Battle of Alberta but still a huge win for the Oilers.
Gaeten Haas netted the second period game-winner while Jesse Puljujarvi got the other marker for the Oilers. The Flames lone goal came off the stick of Rasmus Andersson.
The win moves the Oilers into sole possession of second place in the North Division with 22pts.
I have the full recap right here for your reading pleasure...
The Oilers had the early jump in the second edition of the Battle of Alberta. They strung together consecutive shifts in the Flames end and were testing David Rittich early and often. The shots read 4-0 for the Oilers at the four-minute mark.
The pressure would pay off as Tyson Barrie would pinch into the Calgary end to send a beautiful pass to a wide-open Jesse Puljujarvi in front of the net for the game’s first goal. Jesse recorded his fifth goal in the last seven games and the Oilers had the early 1-0 lead.
Calgary would eventually start to turn up the pressure as the period wore on. Johnny Gaudreau would have the best chance of the period on a cross-crease pass from Matthew Tkachuk but Smith was solid.
The game would sway a little bit in favour of the Flames but it wouldn’t matter on the scoreboard as Edmonton took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Things started to tighten up in the middle frame. The Oilers were on their heels for the first part of it but, after surviving a relentless Flames PP, things started to open up.
Both teams started trading chances in the late stages of the period but both goaltenders were playing up to the task. That is, until Gaetan Haas picked up some trash on a rebound in tight to give the Oilers the 2-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the period.
Josh Archibald nearly made it 3-0 on the next shift after a cross-crease shot was somehow kept out of the net. The two-goal lead would be short-lived as Rasmus Andersson got the Flames on the board 45 seconds after the Haas goal.
It remained a game of inches as the Oilers were very close ot taking a commanding 3-0 but instead had to settle for a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
Instead of trying to extend their lead the Oilers decided to turn on the defensive play to hold on. The team clogged up the neutral zone and tried to keep the Flames at bay.
That isn’t to say they had no chances on net. Draisaitl had a fabulous chance on a wide-open net but a diving Rittich was able to get enough on it to keep it out of the net.
The defensive option for the Oilers worked for the most part. They limited the Flames to the outside and Smith was able to see the shots that Calgary were able to get through.
The Flames would put on some late pressure but it wouldn’t generate much. The Oilers take home the 2-1 win as they even up the season series against the Calgary Flames.
- Draisaitl and McDavid fought the puck all night long. They didn’t have their usual jump in their step and I have to give credit to the Calgary defence in that regard. Of course, even the best of the best have their off night and the Oilers were lucky to get some depth scoring.
- Special teams was a mixed bag for the Oilers. Their penalty kill was under seige on each opportunity but they were able to escape the night without allowing a PP marker against. Their power-play, on the other hand, was a garbage fire. They struggled in nearly every facet from entering the zone to completing simple passes. It’s gotta be better than that.
- The media seems to love praising Mike Smith for every little thing this season and I don’t buy it. Sure, he wasn’t awful tonight, but he wasn’t a world-beater. He had a fine game but lets not pin him as the saviour just yet.
- Tyson Barrie is a helluva offensive defenceman but a horrid defensive defenceman, that is all.
- Gaeten Haas picked up his first goal of the season and the eventual game winner tonight. He has looked awesome at the center position and I think he should stay here. Can’t hurt to have Turris sit a few games.
- Eric Francis is an awful awful commentator. I am not even saying that as an Oiler fan, but as a journalist student and somebody who is trying to get into the industry. His analysis is insanely weak and he contradicts himself faster than anyone else. I truly feel sorry that Calgary fans have to listen to such mediocrity on normal basis.
- Back to hockey now...The win moves Edmonton’s record to 11-9-0 on the season and into second place in the North Division. Don’t celebrate just yet, though, as the Canadiens are only two points behind the Oilers with four games in hand. A win in tomorrow’s rematch will give them a little breathing room. Lets Go Oilers!