In Calgary, Flames fans can rejoice at finally beating the Oilers for the first time in eight games, meanwhile, for Oiler fans tonight was a frustrating way with Mike Smith standing on his head all night long to get his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 Calgary win.
This one would start off with Darnell Nurse getting into a tilt with Travis Hamonic to re-stoke the fires of the Battle of Alberta, but this would be one of the few highlights for the visitors on this night.
It appeared that Zack Kassian had opened up the scoring for the Oilers with 5:55 to go in the first but it would be waved off as the officials ruled the puck was knocked in after dislodging it from Mike Smith’s pads as he was trying to freeze it.
The first and only goal in this one to count would come off a backhander by Johnny Gaudreau in close early in the 2nd period as he’d beat Talbot for his 22nd goal of the season.
Late in the frame, Ryan Strome would have by far the best chance to tie things up taking a pass from McDavid in front of the Calgary net but Mike Smith would get the glove up at point-blank range to deny Strome of his 13th goal of the year.
Smith wouldn’t be finished denying the Oilers in the third as Ryan Nugent Hopkins had a glorious chance on two on one with McDavid early in the period but the right pad would hold strong to preserve the one-goal lead.
Edmonton would get a power play late in this one but it would be all for naught as Calgary would hold the storm and Matt Stajan shot block would seal things with three seconds to go. Calgary now sits just two points back of Dallas for the final Western Wild card playoff spot.
The Oilers at 30-35-4 with 64 points are 18 back of the Wildcard spot. Ouch.
Cam Talbot after Gaudreau’s goal slammed the door shut in this one to give his dudes a chance at getting back into this one, it was a losing effort yes but was one of his better performances in a lost season with 31 saves.
Connor McDavid. The chances that he generates per game is absolutely stunning, Mike Smith just had his number tonight along with the rest of the Oil.
I mentioned Connor in the good and now his name comes up in the bad but it’s not on anything he did, it’s on Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic pretty calmly coming onto the scene for times of their captain getting whacked and harassed in scrums. Connor is the meal ticket for everyone on that team, you can’t afford to have him getting mauled in a four on one situation.
For the eight time this year, the Oilers have been shut out of a game, unacceptable.
The Oilers powerplay struggled all game long and with under two minutes to go, it couldn’t step up to beat Mike Smith to send things to OT, another head shaking effort on special teams (0/3 on PP).
The breakdown in front of Talbot on Gaudreau’s goal was something else, how many more times do we need to see someone get in behind every Oiler skater and then convert?
The Orange and Blue head back home to take on San Jose before going right back on the road for four games against teams in the Eastern Conference (Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Ottawa).