The Calgary Flames survived an early two-goal deficit and came back to steal a 5-3 win in the Battle of Alberta tonight. Mikael Backlund netted the winner for the Flames, who have won both games versus Edmonton this season.
Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 3 minutes into the game after goals from Lennart Petrell and Sam Gagner. But the Flames had a quick answer as Jarome Iginla set up Olli Jokinen just 49 seconds later on their first powerplay of the game. Jokinen slipped the puck five hole on Nikolai Khabibulin to cut the lead to one.
The Flames tied the game at two goals apiece about 3 minutes later with a diving effort from Rene Bourque. Borkie’s goal was definitely one for the highlight reel.
After a scoreless 2nd period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave Oilers fans something to cheer about when he scored the go-ahead goal at 5:27 of the 3rd period. As was the case in the first period, the Oilers lead was very short-lived and Derek Smith tied the game with his second goal of the season at 6:11.
Jarome Iginla lead the Flames with 3 key assists, including Jokinen’s first goal, Smith’s 3-3 game-tying goal and again on Backlund’s game-winning goal in the third period.
Unlike previous games, where they struggled to find the back of the net, the Flames had balanced scoring, receiving two goals from Olli Jokinen and one each from Rene Bourque, Derek Smith and Mikael Backlund. This is the type of scoring that the Flames need to see more often if they hope for more success on the ice.
As always, Miikka Kiprusoff gave the Flames a chance to win by stopping 26 of 29 shots. But the big reason the Flames took the two points tonight is that they wore down a much smaller and less experienced Oilers team with physical play. The Flames used their size to their advantage and pounded the Oilers every opportunity they had. The Oilers didn’t have a lot of open ice to skate on and every time they touched the puck there was a Calgary jersey right behind them. The usually docile Jay Bouwmeester even took down Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff while the Flames were killing a penalty in the second period.
Calgary earned the win tonight, but the players won’t have much of a chance to soak it in. The Flames head to Vancouver tonight for another road game against the Canucks tomorrow. Following that the Flames will return home for a three-game homestand against Carolina, Colorado and Edmonton.