There’s never a dull moment when it comes to the battle of Alberta. The rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames has been one of the best in hockey history, and they’ve already faced each other twice in this young season. Edmonton took the first contest 4-0, but last night was Calgary’s turn, as they came from behind to win the game 5-3. The Oilers had controlled much of the play throughout the game despite being out-shot and it was once again the strong play of Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin that kept Edmonton in it.
The Oilers opened the scoring on a goal by Ales Hemsky, his second of the season. Ryan Whitney and one third of the super rookie trio Magnus Paajarvi drew the assists. But Calgary would quickly get the equalizer, as Alex Tanguay connected for his first of the season from Matt Stajan and Robin Regehr. In the second period, the back and forth would continue, as Dustin Penner put the Oilers ahead 2-1 on a goal assisted by Sam Gagner. The Flames tied it up with Brendan Morrison’s first from Stajan and Cory Sarich. Then, Magnus Paajarvi would be the second Oilers rookie to get his first as an NHLer, a dirty goal in close. It was reviewed to be sure the puck actually crossed the line, but it was eventually ruled a goal, the credit going to Paajarvi. Colin Fraser and Ryan Jones got the assists. The Oilers would take the 3-2 lead into the third period, but that’s when it all would break down. Calgary’s Niklas Hagman scored to even the game once again, then Jarome Iginla got his first of the year on the powerplay. The Oilers just weren’t able to get the equalizer, and Alex Tanguay scored his second of the night into an empty net to seal the 5-3 victory.
Edmonton didn’t play a bad game, but they let it slip away to a Flames team that has been in tough to score all season. The Oilers got into penalty trouble again in this game, allowing the Flames to come back. Calgary held the edge in shots 46-30. No doubt Tom Renney will be addressing discipline, as well as working on the penalty kill, as they’ve now allowed five shorthanded goals in the past two games. The kill did improve from the disaster against Minnesota, but they need to tighten up when it comes to holding onto leads. Edmonton play their next game on Thursday night, at home to the aforementioned Minnesota Wild.
Hall Still Looking for a Goal
Now that both Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi have their first NHL goals, the hockey world awaits highly touted number one pick Taylor Hall to get his. His counterpart, and second overall selection Tyler Seguin already has his first as the member of the Bruins. Hall says that he hasn’t been reading the internet or listening to the radio, which is probably a good thing, as the 18 year old doesn’t need to hear how all the other rookies are scoring while he isn’t. He knows he hasn’t put the puck in the net yet, but he’s being diplomatic about it. Some have even suggested he’d be better served going back to junior, but head coach Tom Renney squashed that in a hurry:
“He’s going to be here all year unless somebody tells me otherwise,” said Renney. “That’s a conversation you’d have down the road if, in fact, there was something that seems consistent in his game that really prevents him from moving forward. I’m not there. I think he’ll just get better (and) that’s an assimilation we’re prepared to work with. And not just with him but others in our lineup in a year where we think we can afford to do that and, quite honestly, we need to.”