by Lisa McRitchie on 10/19/11 at 04:00 AM ET
Oilers lose 2-1 to Flames
The Calgary Saddledome was loud tonight, but the crowd wasn’t saying what you might be expecting. Walking up to the Dome before the game, it seemed as though there were an equal number of Oilers and Flames jerseys, and excitement was in the air. Once in the Dome, before the game had even started, the concourse echoed with “Let’s go Oilers” chants. These chants were not displaced until the third period.
The Calgary Flames and Telus were handing out paper megaphones tonight. Many Oiler fans replaced the word Flames with Oilers, while some Flames fans wore the giveaway as a hat. I don’t think I even need to say in words what this made me think of…
The Oilers’ Tom Gilbert opened the scoring on the power play with a feed from Cory Potter early in the first period, and if the game had only lasted forty minutes, that would have been enough for the Oilers to take home the win.
It wasn’t until late in the third that the Flames would put themselves on the scoreboard and win with two quick goals. It wasn’t for lack of trying, or even power play opportunities that the Oilers were not able to tie or even increase their lead in the third, but Mikka Kiprusoff was outstanding.
There were a few notes going into this game, Taylor Hall was the forward who was feeling the flu bug. Hall was questionable before the game against the Predators, but was not well enough to play against the Flames. Theo Peckham drew back into the lineup, as did Ryan Whitney for his first game since late December, and Jeff Petry was out.
With Hall out, that did in some ways equal the Oilers top line being out of the game since Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner are still out and some time from returning.
As some of the Oilers return from injuries, others will be reassigned or sat out. So, with that in mind it was time for players to bring their A games. Anton Lander made some mistakes, including a terrible giveaway in the first period, but made up for it other ways including some impressive shots on net in the third, but not faceoff wins. Tonight, Lander struggles winning only one of six.
Shawn Horcoff had another excellent night for the Oilers, his faceoff wins were only a small part of that.
Although Magnus Paajarvi didn’t score on the night, neither did a lot of other Oilers. It seemed as though the Oilers came out looking to take this game in high scoring fashion, but then lost their steam nearly midway through the first. They let the Flames control most of the tempo of the game, and were either too fatigued from their previous night’s game or they were trying to keep the Flames on their toes. Of course, it could have been something else altogether.
I would like to tip my hat to the Calgary Flames; this game was the most enjoyable battle of Alberta in the Saddledome in quite some time. Although the Oilers have not won in that building since October 18, 2008, it is not the losing that has taken away from the enjoyment. The Flames have for years played a video depicting a Ryan Smyth “look alike” leaving Edmonton and being welcomed to Calgary, and cutting off his mullet. All of this is depicted to Social Distortion’s Ball and Chain. If you look past the fact that Smyth never went to Calgary, you still just see it for what it is, something that is supposed to magnify the idea that it is a rivalry of cities and not just teams. It’s old, and it was cute the first time, but every time? Really?
This time, the atmosphere seemed to better reflect the shared sorrow of the fans through the past few years. Finally I think that they got that neither team should be throwing stones.
Also, the Flames brought in Mike Vernon to help commemorate Kiprusoff breaking the past record and become the winningest goalie in Flames history. After beating the Montreal Canadiens last week, Kipper earned his 263rd Flames win, but tonight makes it 264. Sigh.
Although the Oilers couldn’t pull off this win, it was close and by no means a blowout. Lessons have been learned and hopefully that will carry through to the Oilers next game Thursday night when the team hosts the Minnesota Wild.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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