Nothing doing

ROBIN BROWNLEE, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

The storyline in the first five skirmishes of the 2006-07 edition of the Battle of Alberta had been about successfully defending home turf.

That changed last night as the uncharacteristically road-shy Calgary Flames waltzed into Rexall Place like they owned the joint and gave the Oilers a 4-0 spanking in their own backyard, winning for just the seventh time in 23 tries outside the cozy confines of Cowtown.

CONVINCING BEATING

A convincing bit of roadwork it was.

"We started the game well," said coach Craig MacTavish, whose team got nothing for 7-1 margin in shots in the first nine minutes thanks to Miikka Kiprusoff.

"The period I was most disappointed with was the third period. We took some penalties. There wasn't enough offence and we made mistakes defensively."

The Flames had the second-worst road record in the NHL in terms of wins when they came calling, but goals by Matthew Lombardi, Dustin Boyd, Alex Tanguay and Dion Phaneuf and 32 saves by Kiprusoff changed that - emphatically, to say the least.

More important, the victory sends the Flames into the NHL all-star break six points up on the Oilers in Northwest Division standings and with the season series swung 4-2 in their favour. The Flames also have a game in hand.

All that on a night the Oilers showed too little emotion and things stayed civil until the Flames chased Dwayne Roloson with the 4-0 goal by Phaneuf early in the third period. The question is, why?

"If you're not going to play a hard game, you'd better do something offensively," said MacTavish. "We had a lot of guys right in between again tonight - guys who weren't getting anything done offensively and weren't being hard enough physically. We're right in between again."

Calgary's power play, an woeful 2-for-31 in the first five meetings, got things started 15 minutes in when Lombardi waltzed in on Roloson, out-waited him and tucked the puck in the net.

When Boyd banked a snapshot off Marc-Andre Bergeron from a sharp angle that fooled Roloson and trickled past him 13 minutes into the second period, the Oilers were down 2-0 and up against it.

Down 3-0 through 40 minutes on Tanguay's first goal of the season series, there was nothing left to do but look forward to the all-star break - the Oilers are 2-18-0 when trailing after two periods.

"Kipper was outstanding tonight," said Petr Sykora.

"At times he kept them in the game. You get down 2-0 to this team, it's hard to come back. Kipper was playing great and they got that first goal."

STOLL SITS OUT

Jarret Stoll didn't play and didn't take the morning skate, instead taking a spin on the stationary bike and heading home in the hope his head would begin to clear.

Slammed into the boards by Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson Thursday, Stoll has a mild concussion, even if the Oilers aren't saying as much. A broken nose certainly isn't what's keeping Stoll out.

With four days off during the break, the hope is that Stoll will be ready to go Friday against San Jose.


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