SUN Hockey Pool

Flames snuff Oil chances

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Razzing Miikka Kiprusoff with chants and roaring every time their team poured on the pressure, a sold-out Rexall Place was rocking.

It was a playoff atmosphere, even though the 3-2 loss to their hated provincial rival Calgary Flames means there will be no post-season for the Edmonton Oilers.

Down a goal in the third period, the big screen prompted the 16,839 in attendance to let their team know how they feel.

They responded with volume that rivals what you often hear during spring hockey.

In turn, the Oilers rewarded them with a goal to tie the tight contest with a little less than seven minutes to play.

Curtis Glencross snuck by everybody and took a breakaway pass, making no mistake with his shot to leave the finish in doubt until the final minutes.

Owen Nolan connected for the winner a few minutes later -- into an empty net when the rebound from a Dion Phaneuf blast eventually settled on his stick -- but if not for a delay to change a piece of glass behind the Oilers net, the Flames might not have managed to strike back so quickly.

"It was great the way we rebounded, but on the bench, it was hard," said Jarome Iginla of the feeling after Glencross' second of the night. "There was a big time-out after that -- I think the glass -- and we just kind of relaxed a little bit.

"I thought after they tied it, we found our composure and settled in again."

Credit Kiprusoff for making the third goal stand. Coming up with timely saves, none bigger than the ones he made in the final minutes, he was a big reason the team was relatively calm.

"I think we played strong," said Kiprusoff. "Even when they came back and tied the game, there was a pretty good feeling on our team. We didn't panic."

If there was any doubt over which team was more desperate coming out of the gate, the Oilers quickly put an end to the debate.

In the final regular-season game at home, they swarmed the Flames end for nearly 10 minutes at the start.

It paid off just past the midway mark of the opening period when Glencross -- a Flames-killer so far in his NHL career -- snuck one between Kiprusoff's cushions. In five games against the Flames this season, with the Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets, Glencross has five goals.

Getting their game together late in the first, the Flames drew even on a powerplay goal from Adrian Aucoin, whose shot banked in off Denis Grebeshkov.

Knowing their season was on the line -- as it has been for weeks-- the Oilers pressed hard and had some success getting chances but didn't manage to regain a lead.

Appearing to be headed to the second intermission in a deadlock, the Flames jumped ahead with less than three seconds left on the clock.

Flubbing an Alex Tanguay slapper from an odd angle, Dwayne Roloson got a chunk of the puck before it squeezed into the bottom corner.

The lead lasted until the 13:17 mark of the third period, when Glencross beat Kiprusoff with a quick shot to tie it.

"You know going in the third, that's their whole season, so they're going to come as hard as they can. And they did," Iginla said. "They kept skating, and the crowd was behind them, and they kept coming.

"We found a way to weather it. We knew it would be hard."


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