SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers are four and oh!

Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff (left) celebrates with teammate Mathieu Roy after scoring the...

Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff (left) celebrates with teammate Mathieu Roy after scoring the winning goal in overtime against the Flames in Calgary on Thursday. (Calgary Sun/Mike Drew)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

CALGARY -- It's as though they had waited all summer to voice their opinion on the Edmonton Oilers run to the Stanley Cup final.

Just 20 seconds in to last night's pre-season game, the "Oilers suck" chant reverberated through the Pengrowth Saddledome. Interestingly, through the first 10 minutes of the contest, the Oilers seemed to oblige.

They gave up a power-play goal and then conceded another while on a two-man advantage to fall behind 2-0 early in an eventual 4-3 overtime win. Shawn Horcoff scored the winner 3:58 into overtime.

Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Patrick Thoresen, and Jarrett Stoll, also scored for the Oilers (4-0-0).

Thoresen's goal came shorthanded. The 23-year-old Norwegian also had an assist on Pouliot's power-play goal.

Matthew Lombardi, with two goals, and Jarome Iginla replied for Calgary (2-0-1).

"I thought we did a pretty good job on their first power play and then late in the power-play there was a broken play and it ended up in the back of the net," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "Then on our power-play we got a little complacent on the five on three and they got a rare five-on-three goal against us."

Granted, the Flames did have their top line, best defencemen and No. 1 goaltender in the lineup. The Oilers left two-thirds of their top line at home, were without two of their top defencemen and played their backup goaltender.

But eventually the Oilers youngsters responded, none more so than Thoresen.

Thoresen played as though he were a regular in the Battle of Alberta, even though it was his first game against the Flames.

"I'm getting a little warmer under my jersey, so I'm trying to do things that maybe I wouldn't have done in the first games," Thoresen said. "I feel fresh, I'm getting a lot of ice time and it was very fun."

Despite being an exhibition contest, there was still plenty of grit. Oilers forward Zack Stortini traded haymakers with Eric Godard during the first period, while Mathieu Roy and Brandon Prust went at it in the second.

"I don't think it changes, you still have the pride for each city," said Oilers forward Jarret Stoll. "I think the fans help out pretty good too. "

"It was good to finally be in a hockey game," MacTavish said. "This was our fourth game, but it was our first game in a lot of respects."

At the other end Lombardi played like a man who deserves to be on a line with two players collectively making $12.5 million. Centring Iginla and Alex Tanguay, Lombardi scored the Flames first two goals, his second while killing a five-on-three.

Then he almost scored the winner in OT.

Pouliot and Thoresen responded to Lombardi's goals, before Iginla restored the Flames lead. Jarret Stoll evened the contest early in the middle frame.

Miikka Kiprusoff, playing in his first game of the year for the Flames, needed to shake some of the rust built up during a longer-than-anticipated off-season.

Stoll and Pouliot beat the Flames goaltender with clean wrist-shots, while Thoresen whacked in a rebound from an acute angle.

Kiprusoff cut his night short with just over six minutes left in the second period, making way for rookie Brent Krahn.

At the other end, Markkanen was not sharp early, but warmed up as the game progressed.

The Oilers goaltender shut the door after letting in three goals in the first period. He finished with 24 saves on the night.

"I thought he settled in well," MacTavish said. "After the first period he played terrific."

The teams meet again tomorrow night in Edmonton for their last pre-season encounter. They will then play a home-and-home series to begin the regular season.


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