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Oilers 4, Flames 1

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EDMONTON -- The rebuilding Calgary Flames, out of the playoff race and watching their best players being traded out the door, were hoping they could generate the same kind of urgency and intensity as an Oilers teams in the thick of the playoff chase.

They couldn't.

The Flames fell behind 3-0 in the first period and never mounted anything even closely resembling a comeback attempt in a 4-1 loss.

Not that many expected them to. This was a battle of two teams at the opposite end of the spectrum and it lived up to the anticipated mismatch.

The Oilers are as close to a playoff spot this late in the season as they've been in years, hitting stride at the right time, with four straight wins and points in nine of their last 11 games while the Flames, still reeling from the Jarome Iginla trade, found out an hour before the game that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had been traded to St. Louis. Miikka Kiprusoff's is probably on his way out, too.

So it's probably no surprise that they fell behind early and stayed there, losing for the ninth time in 13 games.

Just like they did in the 4-0 ambush of Vancouver, the Oilers got to work early, scoring on three of their first six shots to chase Kiprusoff from the net with three minutes left in the first period.

Justin Schultz got the scoring started on the first shot of the game at 3:52 and Taylor Hall made it 2-0 on Edmonton's second shot of the game at 9:55.

Ryan Jones made it 3-0 on Edmonton's sixth shot of the game at 16:27. That was it for Kiprusoff, marking the third time in the last four games that the Oilers have chased the other team's starting netminder.

The outburst gave Edmonton seven goals on 16 shots over the last two first periods.

Nail Yakupov made the score 4-0 midway through the third before tough guy Brian McGrattan broke Devan Dubnyk's shutout bid with 1:25 to go.

NOTES: The Flames received a conditional first-round draft pick, 22-year-old defenseman Mark Cundari and 26-year-old Swiss goaltender Reto Berra for Bouwmeester less than an hour before game time ... Kiprusoff also has indicated he'd be willing to accept a trade, though it might be tough to find any takers given that he's given up 36 goals in his last 10 starts and got yanked in the first period Monday night. ... The Oilers signed defenseman Ladislav Smid to a four-year, $14 million contract. The stay-at-home blueliner who's always near the league lead in blocked shots would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer. ... The Oilers recalled C Anton Lander from Oklahoma City. Lander was scheduled to be recalled before his six-point night last weekend, but it didn't hurt. ... The Flames had won 17 of their previous 20 games with Edmonton heading into Monday's game... Alex Tanguay's 25 percent shooting percentage is third best in the NHL.
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