Rivals add punch to finale

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

Old-fashioned Battle of Alberta pre-season nastiness returned to the Saddledome.

So much for using the exhibition finale to gently coast into the regular season.

"I guess the only way to do that is not to schedule Calgary and Edmonton to play each other," said head coach Mike Keenan. "It's part of the rivalry here, certainly, and the history, and part of the intensity of our division.

"That's a great way to get prepped for the play in our division. Both teams really turned it up a notch. The intensity level was season-like."

When the bad blood was finally all scraped off the ice, the Flames claimed a 4-3 overtime victory over their provincial rivals with former Oiler Curtis Glencross netting the winner with a nifty breakaway tally.

"That was quite a move to end it," said Calgary captain Jarome Iginla. "I was looking at the amount of goals he had compared to ice time, and it was impressive. He's got it in him."

The Flames also appear to have dodge a big bullet.

Forward Todd Bertuzzi left early in the second period after taking a puck off the back of his lower right leg, but Keenan said x-rays didn't find a break.

"We were hoping for the best, that it wasn't a fracture, and it's not a fracture," he said.

Being the final tune-up for the Flames and with very few players in action needing to prove their mettle, it could have been a quiet affair.

But the fuse was set when Calgary defenceman Jim Vandermeer took exception to Marc-Antoine Pouliot's powerplay goal early in the second period which gave the visitors a 3-1 lead.

Pouliot, the former junior teammate of Sidney Crosby known more for his offensive abilities than pugilistic skills, left the ice a bloodied mess.

From there, the rest of the middle frame was a series of penalties and scraps reminiscent of the provincial rivalry when it was at its peak.

All told, there were four more fights prior to the second intermission, which featured Robyn Regehr, Vandermeer (a second time), Brandon Prust and Andre Roy for the Flames up against Oilers Zach Stortini, Steve MacIntyre, Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau.

Curiously, all the nastiness sandwiched more than six-and-a-half minutes of consecutive powerplay time for the Flames -- nearly three of which was with a two-man advantage -- and begin the comeback. Jamie Lundmark scored on a five-on-three powerplay. Iginla's second of the game early in the third period evened the count.

"I'm really excited for our group this year," Iginla said.

"Those type of games, physical and emotional, that's a good way to end the pre-season at home."

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 21 shots, including an Andrew Cogliano penalty shot in the first period.

Cogliano and Kyle Brodziak also scored for the Oilers, while goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers recorded 43 saves.

Calgary's regular season opens Thursday in Vancouver.

Ice chips

Notable Flames who didn't suit up were C Matthew Lombardi, LW Mike Cammalleri, C Daymond Langkow and D Dion Phaneuf. Lombardi and Langkow did take part in the morning skate ... Oilers of note who sat out were C Shawn Horcoff, LW Erik Cole, D Sheldon Souray, D Lubomir Visnovsky and RW Ales Hemsky ... After scoring his team's third goal, Marc-Antoine Pouliot had to defend himself against Jim Vandermeer and left the ice a bloodied mess. He returned before the end of the second period after receiving repairs ... Early in the second period, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish was ejected from the game and his team given a bench minor after arguing a penalty call.


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