EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Calgary headed into the All-Star break a first-place team after beating the rival Oilers. Not that grabbing a share of the Northwest Division lead mattered all that much to the Flames.
“It’s where you are at the end of the season that matters,” forward Marcus Nilson said after Calgary defeated Edmonton 4-0 on Saturday night. “Whatever happens before that doesn’t matter if you don’t end up where you want. But it is nice to be back in first.”
Flames head coach Jim Playfair was glad to see how his team recovered after being pushed hard by the Oilers early in the game.
“We played the night before and they were trying to take advantage of that,” he said. “We bent a little bit but then started to push them back and at the end of the night we got what we needed.”
Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr was with the majority in crediting Kiprusoff’s performance for the win.
“He really dominated the game,” he said. “I can’t say enough about his play. He was by far the best player on the ice.”
It was the second win in as many nights for the Flames, who have won seven of their last nine heading into the All-Star break to tie Vancouver for first with 56 points. Edmonton had a two-game winning streak snapped.
“We made too many mistakes and they capitalized,” Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said. “They were more capitalistic. If you are not going to play a hard game, you had better do something offensively. We had a lot of guys who were right in between tonight. It’s a bad recipe.”
MacTavish has been disappointed with his team’s play against the Flames all season.
“We’ve scored two five-on-five goals in six games against this team,” he said. “You’re not going to win a lot of games that way. We are lucky to have two wins right now in the six games we’ve played them with stats like that.”
After a slow start, Calgary scored at 15:09 of the first period. Lombardi picked up the rebound from a Roman Hamrlik power-play point shot and pulled the puck past a sprawling Dwayne Roloson on the backhand before tucking it in to give the Flames the lead.
Edmonton’s sloppy play in its own end finally helped Calgary take a 2-0 lead in the second period. Boyd’s wrist shot from the right circle seemed to catch Roloson off guard as the puck sneaked through his legs and trickled into the net.
The Flames took a three goal lead with 1:27 left in the second. Kristian Huselius extended his scoring streak to seven games as he slid a beautiful backhand pass through the legs of Edmonton defender Jason Smith to Tanguay, who scored his 13th of the season.
Roloson hurt his own cause 3 1/2 minutes into the third, taking a diving call at the same time Calgary was penalized for goaltender interference. The Flames scored on the resulting 4-on-4 as Phaneuf pinched in on a rush and beat the Oilers’ goalie through the legs. Jussi Markkanen came in to replace Roloson after the goal.
: The home team won the five previous meetings between the rival teams this season with the Oilers winning both games in Edmonton and the Flames taking the three in Calgary. … The Flames now lead the Battle of Alberta 80-76-19-1.