Oilers move into playoff position with blowout win

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CALGARY -- The Battle of Alberta?
More like the Blowout of Alberta.
Taylor Hall had five points -- a goal and four assists -- and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had four points as the Edmonton Oilers completed a two-game sweep of the Calgary Flames with an 8-2 win Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"It's funny how this season works. Early on in the year, we couldn't score a goal if our life depended on it," said Oilers winger Jordan Eberle, who had two goals Wednesday. "And then, you break out like this. It's fun. We've got an offensive team, so anytime you score goals, it's great. And it's great to see everyone on the team chipping in."
Eight was the lucky number for the Oilers (16-13-7) on this night.
Not only did they score eight times on Flames goalie Joey MacDonald, they also moved into the eighth and final playoff position in the NHL's Western Conference with a fifth straight victory.
Meanwhile, the Flames (13-18-4) remain in 14th and -- after trading away captain Jarome Iginla and top defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in the past week -- are looking at the type of lengthy rebuild their provincial rivals know all about.
"I don't think we could get much worse than that. That's rock bottom, I think," said Flames center Matt Stajan, who scored the game's first two goals. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves, though. That's our effort. That's what we deserved. We didn't deserve anything better than that. We left our goalie out to dry. It's on ourselves to turn it around."
The Flames, who lost 4-1 two nights earlier in Edmonton, couldn't have asked for a better start in Wednesday's game.
Just as out-of-town fans attempted to start a "Let's Go Oilers" chant, Stajan scored twice in a span of 2:43 to give the hosts an early lead. Stajan chipped a shot over Devan Dubnyk's shoulder at the 2:35 mark, then doubled his fun on a rebound after linemate Curtis Glencross rang a shot off the post.
For the next 54:42, it was all Oilers.
"They gave us a hockey lesson, plain and simple," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
Sam Gagner deflected Jeff Petry's point shot past MacDonald to put the visitors on the scoreboard, then Ryan Whitney -- a guy whom some expected to move before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline -- snuck in from the blue line and made the most of a pretty feed from left winger Taylor Hall to tie it up before the intermission.
In the second frame, the Oilers made the Flames pay a price for poor discipline.
With Michael Cammalleri serving a two-minute minor for tripping, rookie Nail Yakupov teed up Gagner's saucer pass in the slot to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead.
With Cory Sarich in the penalty box for roughing about four minutes later, a puck bounced to Hall at the far post, and Edmonton's leading scorer made no mistake on the freebie.
After Flames defenseman Chris Butler got his stick up high on Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins buried a rebound for the Oilers' third power-play goal in a stretch of 6:17.
With a group of three Flames surrounding Hall in front of the net, Eberle scored at the 9:56 mark of the third period, and the talented winger scored again with just under three minutes remaining. If that weren't enough, Yakupov added his second of the night to round out the scoring.
"It's always nice to beat these guys here," Nugent-Hopkins said.
"To be down 2-0 and win 8-2 is pretty cool," Hall added. "Today was a weird day with trade-deadline day, but I think everyone settled down and realized this is the group we have for this year, and I think we're all excited about that."
The Oilers nearly doubled the Flames in total shots, finishing with a 39-21 edge in pucks on net.
The Oilers are right back at it Thursday, when they face the Vancouver Canucks on the West Coast.
The Flames now embark on a three-game road-trip, with stops in San Jose, Vancouver and Denver. In Friday's meeting with the Sharks in the Silicon Valley, they'll try to snap an 11-game winless skid away from the Saddledome.
NOTES: The Oilers and Flames both made minor deals at Wednesday's trade deadline. The Oilers acquired center Jerred Smithson from the Florida Panthers for a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, while the Flames sent winger Blake Comeau to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fifth-rounder this summer. It was a busy day for Smithson, whose wife was due to give birth later Wednesday ... Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who just welcomed a second son, was a trade target of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the deadline, but the 36-year-old netminder told GM Jay Feaster he didn't want to leave Calgary for family reasons. There were reports Kiprusoff, who did not get the start against the Oilers, might not report if he was moved. "I don't think it's the right thing to do for the Leafs if my heart is not 100 percent there," Kiprusoff told reporters ... When Edmonton's Mike Brown and Calgary's Steve Begin dropped their gloves in the first period, it marked the first time in a dozen installments of the Battle of Alberta that there had been a fight ... Prior to the game, the Flames recalled versatile forward Roman Horak from the AHL's Abbotsford Heat ... Flames defenseman Derek Smith missed the game due to a lower-body injury, and there are reports he could be out for the remainder of the regular season.

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