And they didn’t just win, they beat the living daylights out of a Flames team that never knew what hit them. Had it wrapped up after 40 minutes. Blew them out of their own rink.
“I bet you guys didn’t expect that one, huh,” grinned winger Taylor Hall, who had a goal, an assist and nine shots in the 6-1 whitewash. “It shows you the potential that we do have.”
Unexpected? This came from so far out in left field it was out of Steve Bartman’s reach.
“My first game in the NHL,” said Hall, when asked to recount Edmonton’s last win over Calgary. “And I’d never won in this building, I’d never even come close to it.”
They weren’t supposed to Tuesday night, either.
The Flames hadn’t lost in regulation in eight games, they’d taken points from 14 of their last 17 and they were fighting for their playoffs lives, at home, against … well, the Oilers.
The 29th place Oilers. The same Oilers who’d lost nine straight and 16 of their last 17 against Calgary. The same Oilers who’d lost 22 of 29 road games this year.
Only these weren’t the same Oilers at all.
“We’ve got a lot of pride in here and it’s never fun to come into a building and get dominated like we have,” said Sam Gagner, who finished with a goal, two assists and a plus-three rating. “We felt like we played a great 60 minutes. It’s a good feeling in here.”
Edmonton was all over Calgary from start to finish, outshooting them 17-7 in the first period and 17-4 in the second. If not for Miikka Kiprusoff, the Oilers reach double digits.
“Probably our second worst game of the year, next to (the 9-0 loss in) Boston,” said Jarome Iginla. “We all picked the same night to have a terrible night, except the goaltending.”
Flames coach Brent Sutter seemed in shock.
“We were bad tonight, there’s really no explanation,” he said. “Physically, mentally, emotionally. Our goaltender kept us in it in the first period — 18 other guys were just bad players.”
On the other bench, Ralph Krueger, coaching in place of the injured Tom Renney, gets his first win in the NHL.
“I just thought the guys out-worked them, really, all through the game and deserved this one, I’m really happy for the team,” he said. “This season, what we have left of it, is all about days like this, trying to find the game that we need to play to be a playoff contender in the future. It’s less about me, but I’m really grateful to the guys for getting that win for me.”
When it was 1-1 after 20 everyone pretty much expected the Flames, being in a desperate fight for the eighth, would regroup and put the Oilers away.
Instead, Edmonton kept coming. By the time Ales Hemsky made it 2-1, they were out-shooting Calgary 8-1 in the period and 25-8 in the game.
“It kind of just rolled from there,” said Eberle. “In the second we felt like we just dominated.”
Eric Belanger (yes, that Eric Belanger) scored at 12:21 and before the shock of a 3-1 deficit could quite set in, Sam Gagner made it made it 4-1 just 30 seconds later.
Ryan Smyth, on his 36th birthday, made it 5-1 late in the second and Hall added some salt at 17:29 of the third.
And now the Flames are ninth.
“It’s fun playing spoiler,” said Eberle. “When you get a team like this that’s fighting for a playoff spot and you can come in and kind of disrupt that, it’s fun.
“To beat them here on their home ice was great. We’re all smiles right now.”