Goal-den oldie

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Maybe those old days of the Battle of Alberta aren't just a memory after all.

No, last night's 5-4 Calgary Flames loss to the Edmonton Oilers didn't have the all-out hatred we saw in the heyday -- there weren't any sweaters being cut up or long-lasting brouhahas -- but it did have something else lacking in recent past: Goals.

Lotsa goals.

The sellout crowd of 16,839 at Rexall Place received an early Christmas present from the fourth meeting between Edmonton and Calgary this season.

Well, at least those donning Oilers jerseys.

Thanks to Fernando Pisani's game-winning goal with 45 ticks left on the clock, they were the ones finally celebrating a victory over their biggest rivals that pulls the teams even in the extremely tight Northwest Division standings.

Moreover for the Oilers, they finally beat the Flames in regulation time, something that hasn't happened since the 2002-03 season.

Calgary had put together a 6-0-3 run against Edmonton since then and weren't happy to see it end.

"When you score four goals, it doesn't matter if you're in Edmonton or wherever you are, it should win the game," said Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter.

"Usually Kipper's really sharp but he wasn't tonight. There was two or three goals that barely got in.

"That's the way it goes."

Kiprusoff, usually stoic win or lose, showed his disappointment.

"A couple of easy goals, it's tough to win a game," said the angry netminder after slamming his equipment into his bag.

Early on, it became early it was going to be a unique affair when the Flames came out like gangbusters and fired the first five shots on goal.

That fifth one, just a little more than four minutes into the game, opened the scoring.

That's when Bryan Marchment caused a turnover just inside the blueline which sent the puck to Kristian Huselius and the newest Flame beat Oilers netminder Mike Morrison five-hole for his first goal since the trade brought him to the Stampede City.

That began the roller-coaster ride.

The Oilers didn't put a puck towards Kiprusoff until more than seven minutes had been played.

A misplay of the puck in the Calgary zone led to a turnover, which saw Shawn Horcoff set up Igor Ulanov in the high slot and the veteran defenceman wired a high shot past Kiprusoff.

Soon after Jarome Iginla stripped the puck from Ales Hemsky, sending Daymond Langkow down the right side and he beat Morrison with a stick-side wrister.

Before the opening frame ended, Edmonton tied it again when Hemsky danced around Andrew Ference before he fired a centring pass to Horcoff, whose one-timer beat Kiprusoff.

Dion Phaneuf's powerplay tally spelled the end of the night for Morrison and not long after, Steven Reinprecht welcomed Jussi Markkanen by deflecting Robyn Regehr's point shot into the cage.

No lead is safe, though, in the new NHL, as shown when Ulanov added another (the first two-goal game of his 723-game career) and then Horcoff played a bank-shot into the net off Kiprusoff's leg to pull the hosts even.

That set the stage for the thrilling conclusion.

However, it left the visitors with a bitter taste in their mouths.

"The first half of the game was ours and their second was theirs," said Iginla. "Unfortunately at that time of the game we've got to find a way to hold the lead and also keep it out of our end.

"We didn't help Kipper tonight."

Calgary returns home to face former captain Craig Conroy and the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night at the 'Dome.


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