Lee Stempniak had a hat trick and added an assist to lead the Calgary Flames to a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers tonight. The win was the 9th straight Battle of Alberta win for the Flames and the 16th in 17 games versus their provincial rivals.
Mikael Backlund, Blake Comeau and Lee Stempniak all scored for the Flames in the first period. Despite what the shot statistics may show, it was a lop-sided affair, with Calgary dominating all over the ice. The Flames headed to the dressing room with a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Oilers pushed back hard in the 2nd, but couldn’t beat Miikka Kiprusoff who, true to Kipper form, stopped all nine Edmonton shots. Stempniak added his 11th goal of the season with 36 seconds left in the period, giving the Flames a 4-goal lead. During the 2nd intermission, Edmonton’s coaching staff replaced Nikolai Khabibulin with Devan Dubnyk. Unfortunately, for Oilers fans, it did nothing to help.
Andy Sutton finally beat Kipper 4:24 into the third period, but the comeback was short-lived. A couple minutes later, Darcy Hordichuk took a stupid penalty, putting the Flames on the powerplay for the 4th time in the game. On the powerplay, Jay Bouwmeester tipped Jarome Iginla’s point shot and it went off the post and bounced in off Devan Dubnyk. It was originally called as Iggy’s goal, but the replay showed that Jay got a piece of it.
With time winding down in the game, Ryan Smyth tipped a shot over Kipper’s shoulder, but it wouldn’t prove to be enough for the deflated Oilers. To add insult to injury, the Oilers pulled their goalie late in the game (the score was 5-2 at that point) and gave Stempniak an easy chance to get his 3rd goal of the game. In a very selfless move, Olli Jokinen stole the puck in the Oilers end, had a chance to score on the empty net, but passed the puck back to Stempniak to allow him to notch his 2nd career hat trick and seal the victory.
The win gives the Flames 5 of a possible 6 points on their three-game road trip and more importantly, keeps Calgary within striking distance of both Colorado and Los Angeles who hold down the last two spots in the Western Conference playoff race.