SUN Hockey Pool

True grit!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

EDMONTON -- It's the kind of determination that sends a team to the playoffs.

Maybe even brings about success in the post-season, too.

Playing for the second straight night without the services of six regulars, the Calgary Flames came up with a huge 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers last night.

"That was probably the closest thing to a playoff game all year," said Flames centre Daymond Langkow.

Good thing, too, because Calgary took a big step toward securing a post-season berth, as well as the Northwest Division title.

Victories over the Avalanche and Oilers on consecutive evenings give them a four-point edge on the pack in that race and what should be an insurmountable lead on the ninth-place San Jose Sharks.

It also shows just how much character the Flames can muster when facing extreme adversity.

Captain Jarome Iginla called it a "fun weekend, a good weekend and a tough weekend.

"Physically, both games were very demanding and very emotional," he said. "It's the playoff drive now, the division drive, all the stuff, and to come out with two wins feels great."

Just like in Friday night's stomping of the Avs, Calgary hit the ice without Rhett Warrener, Jordan Leopold, Marcus Nilson and Jamie Lundmark. As well, Darren McCarty, who watched all of the Colorado game from the bench, didn't dress last night.

Yet, before a rabid soldout Rexall Place gathering of 16,836, they came though with the sort of scrappy victory that made them Stanley Cup finalists in the spring of 2004.

Despite what the final score may say, it wasn't easy, as the Oilers come out flying, determined to take advantage of a tired, injury-riddled Flames squad. It was so one-sided, shots were 9-1 in favour of Edmonton seven minutes into the affair.

That didn't surprise Flames coach Darryl Sutter.

"There really wasn't much difference (between both teams) in the game," he said.

"You knew their gameplan, because we played last night, was to come at us early and be physical, and they did that."

Yet Langkow opened the scoring 11 minutes into the clash, finishing a two-man breakaway with Iginla that came from a turnover. Then Kristian Huselius doubled the lead 88 seconds into the middle frame by batting home a rebound. A few minutes later, he made it a 3-0 count by roofing a short-side wrister on the powerplay.

But the Oilers didn't quit.

Only 43 seconds after falling behind by a trio, Shawn Horcoff broke the goose-egg when Ales Hemsky's pass went off his arm and past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Early in the third, though, Andrew Ference slammed in the dagger in Edmonton's heart by netting a powerplay goal of his own.

No Battle of Alberta is complete without some bad blood spilling over. In the second period, Georges Laraque and Chris Simon dropped the gloves in a heavyweight tilt.

- - -

CALGARY FLAMES: 4

EDMONTON OILERS: 1


Videos

Photos