Edmonton beat Calgary for the fifth time in seven meetings this season with three more remaining. The Oilers rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits.
“It was just a tight game, a battle,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “And we gave up a few more chances than I’d like in the second, but the third period was just kind of a game in the trenches.
“We knew they were going to be a desperate team, they need every point they can get right now. I like the way our guys hung in there in the third and we got a couple on the power play and found a way to win.”
“It’s happened a couple times against these guys in this rink, it’s an even game and they score late,” Tkachuk said. “And they come out of here with two and we come out of here with absolutely nothing.”
Edmonton hasn’t panicked when its fallen behind in games this season, said Smith. The group has a belief that even if they’re down one or two goals, they’re just a shot away from mounting a comeback.
“We’re capable of doing that, we’ve shown that,” said the goalie. “I think our group knows that when we’re down, we can come back and when we have the lead, we can close it out.”
Both teams came into this game rested. Montreal 4-0 on Tuesday while Calgary was coming off a 5-1 loss in its last game, a 5-1 loss to Winnipeg on Monday.
The Flames flew to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Wednesday but the game was called off shortly before puck drop as the hosts added another player to the NHL’s COVID-19 list.
Noah Hanifin was called for interference midway through the third period, and the Oilers were quick to capitalize.
Just 4 seconds into the advantage, McDavid fired a one-timer at the Calgary net. Markstrom got a chunk of the shot but the puck dribbled over the goal line to put Edmonton up 3-2. It was McDavid’s 22nd goal of the season, giving him a league-best 64 points.
Draisaitl sits second in the scoring race with 56 points (19 goals, 37 assists).
Calgary got on the scoreboard first as Stone took a crisp pass from Andrew Mangiapane and unleashed a blast from near the blue line. The puck sailed through traffic and in past Smith 12:23 into the game. It was the defenseman’s first goal since Jan. 5, 2020.
Nugent-Hopkins tied it on a power play early in the second period. With Chris Tanev in the box on a tripping call, a series of crisp passes in front of the Flames’ crease ended with Nugent-Hopkins putting a spinning backhander past Markstrom at 1:19.
Tkachuk put the Flames back ahead at 5:25. Sprung from the box after serving a slashing penalty, the feisty forward picked up the puck in the neutral zone and sped away on a breakaway. His stick work in front of the net tricked Smith into believing he’d try to slip one through the goalie’s legs, but instead Tkachuk put a backhand shot up under the cross bar for his 10th goal of the year.
Kahun tied it 2-2 at 11:29. Kailer Yamamoto chipped him a little pass across the top of the crease and Kahun, stationed in the blue paint, jammed it in.
Coach Dave Tippett said he’s been telling Kahun to get to the net more often.
“That’s about as close as you can get right there,” the coach said with a grin.
Edmonton was 2 for 5 with the man advantage Friday. Calgary failed to capitalize on two power plays.
Calgary C Mikael Backlund was absent from the lineup. The Flames say he is “day-to-day” with an undisclosed injury.
Flames: Host Toronto on Sunday.
Oilers: At Montreal on Monday.