Nolan, Lombardi slick in win

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

EDMONTON -- In practice leading up to last night's game, Matthew Lombardi was skating on the top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.

Owen Nolan and the rest of the Calgary Flames can rejoice head coach kept the speedy centre where he was before.

Lombardi and Nolan each scored and assisted on each other's second-period goals that paced the Flames to a well-earned 3-1 victories over the Edmonton Oilers last night. It gives the Flames two straight wins to follow the five-game losing streak.

The Flames upped their record to 8-8-3, while the Oilers fall to 7-12-1.

With his strong play of late, including a 37-save performance against the Flames a week earlier to backstop his team to a 4-2 victory, Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon has become the talk of the town.

For the first half of the contest, the Flames received a first-hand look as to why Garon -- whose NHL career includes stops in Montreal and Los Angeles prior to Edmonton -- has momentarily supplanted Dwayne Roloson as the No.-1 netminder.

He denied pretty much every Flames player through the first 30 minutes despite a decisive edge in play held by the visitors.

Finally, with the Flames' 17th shot on goal, Garon was beaten, much to the chagrin of the sellout crowd of 16,839 at Rexall Place.

Seconds after goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made his best save of the game -- he reached back with the paddle of his stick to deny Kyle Brodziak's rebound attempt -- Matthew Lombardi opened the scoring.

Sprung on a two-on-one break with Owen Nolan, Lombardi completed the give-and-go by one-timing the saucer pass as Garon tried to dive into the way. It snapped Garon's shutout streak at 106 minutes and 42 seconds.

It also sent the Flames off and running.

Less than three minutes later -- and seconds after the Flames failed to score on the power-play -- Nolan netted his second goal of the season to make it a 2-0 game.

Nolan, whose scoring woes have dogged him all season, took a pretty pass from Lombardi while in the low slot and deftly worked to his backhand and just beat Garon with his shot. In fact, the Oilers netminder got a piece of the puck with his outstretched trapper but not enough.

Kiprusoff, although not as busy as his counterpart in the other net, came up with his share of quality saves -- the biggest a blink before his team opened the scoring.

He was also instrumental in keeping the Oilers at bay early in the third period, while the home club pushed to get back into the clash, stopping chances for Ales Hemsky and Jarret Stoll within seconds of each other, and then on Robert Nilsson during an Oilers power-play.

Raffi Torres also clanged a shot off the post.

Soon after, Craig Conroy, whose production woes -- including an 11-game goal-scoring drought -- put his place on the top line in jeopardy, made it a three-goal edge. He finished off a fantastic shift by slapping a close-in chance set up by Iginla.

Andrew Cogliano's late goal spoiled Kiprusoff's shutout bid.

The Oil also buzzed Kiprusoff late but failed to score.

There were no goals in the opening period, in which the Flames held a decisive edge in play and outshot their hosts 8-3, but that didn't mean a shortage of goings-on.

Oilers tough-guy Zack Stortini started the game and not because of his talent. It was to send a message to Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr, whose hard hits on Ales Hemsky the last time these teams met drew the ire of the Oilers.

Stortini yapped incessantly at Regehr as the clubs lined up for the opening faceoff, but Regehr didn't bite.

When the puck dropped, Flames captain Jarome Iginla went to the bench, so the team's policeman Eric Godard could hit the ice in case of fireworks, but none followed.

Still, Stortini spent the first 20 minutes trying to goad Regehr -- and pretty much any other Flame -- into some action but to no avail.

When Stortini started a shoving match with Nolan near the midway point of the second period, he was handed a 10-minute misconduct to cool down.

The Flames are in Vancouver tonight to face the host Canucks.


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