The Edmonton Oilers defeated their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, 4-1 in an April 1 game at Rexall Place. They will be confronting the Calgary Flames twice more in the next two weeks, so this win will hopefully give them extra confidence going into their remaining match-ups against Calgary.
The game started similar to the Oilers’ previous shutout against the Vancouver Canucks, with Devan Dubnyk between the pipes and the young line of Eberle/Hall/Nugent-Hopkins together again. Fellow Oiler Ryan Jones commented on the three young players, saying that “they’re the best line in the NHL right now, arguably. With them and Duby going like this, it’s a lot of fun.”
Edmonton came out strong and within the first few minutes Hall and Eberle fed a pass to Justin Schultz, who scored the Oilers’ first goal of the night. Taylor Hall, who got a hat trick in the Oilers’ previous game against the Canucks, scored again, bringing Edmonton to a 2-0 lead about 10 minutes into the first period.
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made a few saves, but with less than 5 minutes to go in the first period, Ryan Jones scored a fantastic one-handed goal to bring the Oilers to another big lead – and in response, the Flames pulled Kiprusoff and replaced him with Joey MacDonald.
Krueger commented on the Oilers’ first period success, saying that “we had an optimal start again. When you take advantage of early opportunities, you put yourself in the driver’s seat,” a comment that has a lot of truth to it, for the Oilers at least. Though they’ve struggled sometimes with maintaining leads and guarding against a rallying opposing team, when they establish a substantial lead it seems to give them a big boost of confidence that they can carry through the rest of the game.
Period two was scoreless and fairly uneventful, with the Oilers keeping their 3-0 lead and Edmonton’s Dubnyk making some great saves.
The Flames came into the third period with incredibly high energy, determined to rally. It was the Oilers’ Nail Yakupov who scored, however, with a snapshot about halfway through the third period. The Flames outshot the Oilers by a whopping 17 shots to 3 in the third period, but Dubnyk was stellar between the pipes and allowed only one goal into Edmonton’s net, a shot by Brian McGrattan with less than 2 minutes to go in the game.
McGrattan’s goal unfortunately curtailed Dubnyk’s hopes of a second consecutive shutout, but the Oilers still managed to triumph 4-1.
For those keeping an eye on trades, on Tuesday April 2 the Oilers acquired Garrett Stafford of the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Dane Byers. Stafford, a defenceman, has scored 21 points in 48 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears in the current season.
The Oilers will face the Flames again on Wednesday, April 3 as they hope to keep their winning streak going.