SUN Hockey Pool

The guy's a Kipper

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:29 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames went at each other with all the gusto you'd expect from buzzer to buzzer last night at Rexall Place, but the latest instalment in the ongoing Battle of Alberta was decided in the first 24 minutes.

Before Georges Laraque battered Chris Simon bloody and Calgary and Edmonton fans got into a punch-up of their own in the cheap seats in the second period, this one was over. Done. Finished. What else did the Oilers expect after spotting stingy Miikka Kiprusoff a 3-0 lead?

That was more than enough for the Flames as they parlayed two goals by Kristian Huselius, singles by Daymond Langkow and Andrew Ference and 25 saves by Kipper The Oiler Killer in to a 4-1 victory.

The rest was just obligatory ill-will.

MISTAKES COSTLY

"Every mistake we make ends up in the back of our net," Ethan Moreau said of two turnovers that ended up behind Dwayne Roloson. "A couple of mistakes hurt us.

"We got pucks to the net. We got bodies to the net. That's why they had success and went so deep in the playoffs. They know he's a good goalie and they play well in front of him. We weren't able to get to him, again."

Kiprusoff, who played every minute against Edmonton in the season series, withstood an early barrage, then beat the Oilers for the fifth time in eight tries as the Flames turned two mistakes by the hosts into goals and all the margin their stopper would need - not to mention a six-point lead in Northwest Division standings.

Huselius got the winner with the first of his pair, but it was Kiprusoff, who boasts a 7-2-1-2 career record against the Oilers, who was the difference. Again.

"He's playing great for that team. That's the key," shrugged a matter-of-fact Ales Hemsky. "They play hard and they have Kiprusoff. He's won a lot of games for them."

Outshot 9-1 in the first six minutes, the Flames rode Kiprusoff, then took a 1-0 lead in to the first intermission on a turnover by Radek Dvorak. Dvorak coughed up a puck and Jarome Iginla fed Langkow, who gave all the rowdy red jerseys in a capacity crowd something to yell about at 10:59.

Another ham-handed clearing attempt by the Oilers led to the 2-0 goal and eventual winner just 1:28 into the second period when Huselius chipped a Langkow rebound over Roloson.

Not long after, Kiprusoff did his thing again, stiffing Michael Peca with a glove save on a shorthanded breakaway. That was all Calgary needed as Huselius notched his second on a power play - ending Edmonton's streak of 30 consecutive successful penalty kills - for a 3-0 lead.

PLAYING GIVEAWAY

"That (1-0 goal) was a prelude of what was to follow," said coach Craig MacTavish. "We gave the puck away. We had it 10 feet from our own blueline.

"That became pretty much a tactic of ours from that point forward, where we were going to turn the puck over in our own end."

Shawn Horcoff cut it to 3-1 just 43 seconds after Huselius got his second, but Andrew Ference ended any semblance of drama when he made it 4-1 on a power play three minutes into the third period.

"The last few games against them, we've played a lot better and have been able to match their intensity," said Chris Pronger. "It's up to us to answer the bell for 60 minutes."

AROUND THE RINK: Laraque drew back in after missing two games with a strained hip-flexor ... Igor Ulanov was a healthy scratch for the 16th consecutive game ... Calgary went 2-for-6 on the power play.


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