SUN Hockey Pool

Shoot to thrill

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

Appropriately, it took a sudden-death shootout to decide the outcome.

The league's best home team hosted the second best road squad last night in the third instalment of this season's Battle of Alberta in front of 19,289 screaming fans at the Saddledome.

The Edmonton Oilers ultimately came away with a 2-1 victory -- their first win over the Calgary Flames this year -- when Fernando Pisani found Miikka Kiprusoff's five-hole for the only goal in a shootout.

Chuck Kobasew had a chance to keep it going but Oilers netminder Mike Morrison closed the door to seal the win.

"Shootouts are important. We've got to bear down on our opportunities," said Kobasew, who first watched Tony Amonte and Dion Phaneuf miss the net while Jarome Iginla hit the post with his attempt. "At the end of the year, (those) points that add up."

With the home crowd buzzing, the Flames nearly ended the contest with a little more than a minute remaining in overtime. Iginla, Phaneuf, Steve Reinprecht and Andrew Ference moved the puck at will through the Oilers zone. Phaneuf had a shot trickle past Morrison but it somehow banked off his leg and past the post.

Flames assistant coach Rich Preston thought his team would pull off the overtime comeback.

"I really thought once we killed that penalty in overtime that we'd win it in overtime. Phaneuf had the great chance there, I don't know how that didn't go in."

Morrison, who made 33 saves, joined Kiprusoff, who finished with 28 stops, in stealing the show to force a dramatic finale.

"Kipper came up big. Kipper had a huge game for us," said Preston. "I think our guy was tested a little more than we tested their guy ... We looked like the gang that couldn't shoot straight -- the chances we did have we missed the net."

The Oilers drew first blood then used a relentless forecheck to shut down the Flames offence for much of the game but Marcus Nilson's goal 11 minutes into the third period gave Calgary new life.

He scored his third of the year to cap off a great shift when Reinprecht's centering attempt took a couple of bounces and found Nilson alone beside Morrison for the easy goal.

Iginla was happy to come away with a point but was upset the Flames didn't play better off the bat.

"You can't expect to win a game with one good period and they were definitely better for the first two."

Radek Dvorak gave the Oilers a first-period lead, scoring his fourth of the season with 5:11 to play.

Kiprusoff kept the Flames from falling further behind with a handful of difficult stops, the most memorable being a paddle save on Jarret Stoll as time expired in the opening frame.

Last night's loss prevented the Flames from tying a franchise record for wins in a month. They have one more opportunity tie the record of 11 victories when they begin a five-game road swing in Nashville Tuesday night.

- - -

EDMONTON OILERS: 2

CALGARY FLAMES: 1

SHOOTOUT


Photos