Daymond Langkow’s 27th of the season proved to be the winner as the Flames won their fourth in a row with a 4-2 victory over the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Calgary improved its road record to 8-15-8 as they started a three game trip.
Winning a chapter in the Battle of Alberta is always big but Flames head coach Jim Playfair feels the road means more.
“It’s about us finding ways to win on the road,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. It is an area that we have a lot of improvement to make in. Coming out of this game with two points to start our road trip is important.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla feels the Flames are really starting to make a move in the right direction.
“It’s a good thing to get on a roll at this time of the year. We needed to build some momentum and to start to feel better about our road game too.
“It feels good. We knew the importance coming into this game. It was a chance to distance ourselves from ninth spot and to make a move at first in the division.”
Stephane Yelle, David Moss and Jarome Iginla also scored for the Flames while Fernando Pisani had both goals for Edmonton.
With the win Calgary (35-21-9) moved one point ahead of both San Jose and Minnesota for sixth place in the Western Conference. Edmonton (30-30-6) has now lost their last four straight and is a distant 12 points out of a playoff position.
But the Oilers could at least take solace in the fact that they were miles better compared to the two listless performances they had in their two previous games in the wake of the Ryan Smyth deal.
“We’re having a tough time winning hockey games, that much is obvious,” said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. “But I think we had more action around the net than we’ve had in about three or four games. It’s disappointing to lose the hockey game but I thought we played much better.”
Pisani agreed that at least the Oilers made a step back in the right direction. “It was important to get our legs going and skating and get physical and to get back to the things we need to do well as a team,” he said. “I thought we played well, we just made some mistakes at some bad times.”
The Flames jumped out to a 1-0 lead after an Oiler miscue just over seven minutes in when Shawn Horcoff lost the handle on a breakout pass. Kristian Huselius was there to backhand the puck to a wide-open Moss in front of the net who beat Edmonton starter Dwayne Roloson glove side.
But the Oilers were finally able to find a semblance of their scoring touch a couple minutes later when Pisani picked up a goal on a rebound off of Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. Pisani’s goal ended a scoreless slump of 142:36 for the Oilers dating back to their loss in Minnesota on Feb. 25.
Calgary regained their lead just over the 12-minute mark as Roloson flubbed an attempt to smother the puck on a chip shot from Yelle and the puck snuck in to put the Flames ahead 2-1 after the first.
Edmonton knotted the game up again midway through the middle frame as Marc Pouliot found Pisani on a 2-on-1 break and the Edmonton native unleashed a rocket top shelf for his second of the night.
Calgary once again surged ahead just 1:56 into the third as Langkow’s shot from the right circle found a hole between Roloson’s shoulder and the crossbar to put the Flames up 3-2.
And they salted the game away just three minutes later as Iginla was able to send a shot five hole through a sliding Roloson for his 31st of the season.
The Flames play the middle match of a three-game road swing in St. Louis on Tuesday while the Oilers finish off a four game homestand when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
NOTES: Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky left the game in the first period with an upper body injury after a collision with Brad Stuart and did not return. …Pisani’s first period goal ended the third longest scoring drought in Oilers team history. … Pisani also notched the last goal his team had before embarking on the scoreless streak. The current slump was only 4:05 short of the second worst scoring shortage in 2003 and 14:05 less than their worst power outage in 1990. … Future Hall of Famer Mark Messier was still in Edmonton on Saturday and tried to help motivate his former team as he took to the ice with the Oilers during their morning skate. Messier had another reason to get in a workout though as he and a team of former NHLers will be going head-to-head against the Texas Tornado of the NAHL on March 17. Mark’s son Lyon plays with the Tornado. .. Stuart has only one point in 10 games since joining the Flames, an assist on Robyn Regehr’s tying goal against Minnesota on Wednesday.