CALGARY -- "We're going to lay a licking on you tonight, Charlie."
Assistant coach Charlie Huddy hadn't even made it on the Edmonton Oilers bus to the Pengrowth Saddledome for last night's game when the trash-talking started - braying from a Calgary Flames fan with a grin on his mug and the engraver on his mind.
With the exception of the beating Georges Laraque laid on Brantt Myhres 2:45 into the game, it turns out the smug guy got it right. Score one for Mr. Loudmouth and three for the Flames in a 3-0 waltz over the Oilers, who brought much of their A-team, just not their A-game.
They had none of the fury of big Georges's fists.
"They were more intense in the tough areas of the ice," understated Laraque. "They were more aggressive in front of our net and on the puck and we made some mental mistakes that cost us.
"They played more desperate. It was only in the third period we started to play harder, but it was a little late."
Devan Dubnyk will end up with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL riding the bus soon enough, but the Oilers threw the rookie goaltender under it last night, standing around while he got blitzed after taking over from starter Ty Conklin to open the second period. While the Oilers escaped the first 20 minutes on even terms, thanks to 10 saves by Conklin, the Flames made them pay for slacking off again to start the second, pumping three pucks behind Dubnyk in the first 8:50 on goals by Eric Nystrom, Tony Amonte and Daymond Langkow.
The Oilers started the first and second periods like they were wearing cement shoes, and the final score flattered them - it took 12:35 into the first period to direct their first shot at Brent Krahn.
Dubnyk gave up the goals by Nystrom and Amonte on the first three shots he faced, but he battled.
There wasn't enough of that from the rest of the Oilers line-up.
"I was impressed with him," coach Craig MacTavish said of Dubnyk, who stopped 20 of 23 shots.
"I thought he showed a lot of moxy tonight coming in. It's not easy for a young kid."
AROUND THE RINK: Myhres left for stitches over his left eye after his scrap with Laraque and didn't return because the eye swelled shut ... Steve Staios aggravated a tender groin and didn't play in the third ... the Oilers won the shootout 1-0 on a goal by Robbie Schremp.