Calgary Flames Get the Lucky Bounces in the Battle of Alberta: Round 3

Jason HackettAnalyst INovember 18, 2007

After breaking their four-game skid against Minnesota, the Flames were looking to not only win two in a row, but to look convincing in doing so.

Although the Flames saw some bounces go their way, their win against Minnesota was not a great game. 

Last night's game saw a more experienced Flames squad finally get the upper hand against the youthful Oilers.

Although the "Battle of Alberta" games do not have the same meaning as they did in the Gretzky era or late 90s, they are still important—not only for bragging rights, but for critical points in the Northwest division.

Playing without Souray once again, the Oilers seemed flat out of the gate. Even though neither side was able to score in the first period, the Flames where battling harder, beating the Oilers to the puck in the corners, and creating more scoring chances.

Trying hard to take advantage of their puck possession in the Oilers zone, the Flames were consistently stymied by Garon.

The second period saw much of the same—hurried paces and heavy hits. The Flames rifled plenty of shots on net, a much needed change from earlier games this season.

Matthew Lombardi tallied home his sixth of the season off a nice pass from Owen Nolan on a two-on-one break at the 12:51 in the second. Garon had no chance at all, as Nolan was able to get Garon to commit to him before sliding a cross-crease pass to Lombardi, who buried his shot before Garon was able to adjust.

Less then three minutes later, Nolan got a fortunate bounce off of Dan Marouelli and wristed home his second goal of the year. Garon got a piece of the shot, but not enough to stop the puck from squeezing over the line.

The third period saw more desperation from the Oilers, trying to catch up to the Flames but unable to get the puck past Kiprusoff, despite many great scoring chances. They rang the post several times, had a chance on an open net which hit the edge of a stick, and had a rolling puck stopped at the last second by Kipper's paddle.

There was a lot of heavy hitting throughout the early going of the third period, which at times looked more like a football game then an NHL contest, but no one was complaining.

Edmonton's prayers for a comeback went unanswered, as Tanguay passed the puck from behind the Oilers' net to Conroy, who one-timed the goal from point-blank range past the unexpecting Garon.

Two minutes later, Coligano knocked a lucky bank-shot off of Kiprusoff and into the net to cut the lead down to two, but it was too little, too late.

The 3-1 victory was a great game for the Flames, who seek to turn around their season. It was another disappointing loss for the Oilers, but in consolation, they can say that a couple of bounces in their favor would have changed the game.

However, when attempting just 16 shots on goal, it's difficult to win many games, especially with fewer than 10 shots in the first two periods.

There were a lot of big time hits, few penalties, and a lot of back and forth action.—a classic game! 

Three Stars:

3. Owen Nolan

1 G, 2 Pts, and a strong physical presence all game long.

2. Andrew Cogliano

1 G—a scoring threat all night long

1. Matthew Lombardi

1 G, 2 Pts—always a key player for the Flames.