Liam Carter is the Calgary Flames' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. He is an avid hockey fan who loves his Flames! If you have questions or wish to contact Liam, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Domination of Alberta, Flames smoke Oilers 6-2
Calgary continued their domination over the so called “rivals” from Edmonton on Saturday night as they easily disposed of the hometown Oilers by a score of 6-2. Flames forward Lee Stempniak put an end to his scoring struggles on this night as he recorded his second career hat trick in addition to posting an assist on route to earning 1st star honors on the night.
Calgary - January 22, 2012 - Calgary continued their domination over the so called “rivals” from Edmonton on Saturday night as they easily disposed of the hometown Oilers by a score of 6-2. Flames forward Lee Stempniak put an end to his scoring struggles on this night as he recorded his second career hat trick in addition to posting an assist on route to earning 1st star honors on the night.
Carrying over the momentum and work ethic from the past few outings saw the Calgary Flames roar out of the gates to score three times in the opening frame. Mikael Backlund would open the scoring at the 6:48 mark of the first period when Mark Giordano executed an absolutely perfect cross ice feed that gave the young center a wide open net to shoot at to mark his fourth goal of the season. Roughly three minutes later Blake Comeau would score to increase to the lead to two as he skated untouched through the neutral zone before slamming on the breaks and firing a slap shot that snuck under the arm of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Lee Stempniak would tally his first goal of the night and tenth of the season in the dying moments of the third, as yet again the Edmonton defense gave the forwards of the Flames far too much time and space with the puck in the offensive zone.
A slight push back by the Oilers in the second period resulted in the Flames being outshot 9-7, but for the most part they held strong in regards to the defensive structure that head coach Brent Sutter is always harping on. Much like the end of the first period, Lee Stempniak would again go on to score in the final moments of the period as he was able to somehow float a softy past the defeated Edmonton net minder to bring a close to the second period. That proved to be the last shot that Khabibulin would face on the night as Tom Renney made the decision during the second intermission to pull Nikolai out of the game in favor of Calgary native Devan Dubnyk.
The goaltending swap appeared to briefly spark the hometown team as Andy Sutton scored his third of the season just four minutes into the final period. That spark soon faded when Calgary was rewarded their fourth power play opportunity on the night after the irrelevant Darcy Hordichuk took a moronic goaltender interference penalty. On the ensuing man advantage Jay Bouwmeester would hit the score sheet after tipping in a Jarome Iginla point shot that eluded the big body of Dubnyk to put the Flames back up by four goals. The rugged veteran Ryan Smyth scored his 16th goal of the season in a typical fashion that saw him park his body in front of the goal crease before tipping a point shot over the glove of Miikka Kiprusoff. A somewhat puzzling maneuver by Edmonton coach Tom Renney saw the Oilers pull their goaltender with over three and a half minutes remaining to play while his club was down by three goals. This strategy would obviously go on to fail as it opened up the opportunity for Lee Stempniak to record a hat trick, and thanks in large part to the unselfish play of Olli Jokinen that goal came to fruition.
With the win Calgary’s short three game road trip would come to and end with the club earning an impressive five out of a possible six points to climb right back into playoff contention. Now sitting with 52 points on the season (23-20-6) the Flames only trail the 7th placed Kings by four points, and the 8th placed Avalanche by two points.