CALGARY – With every save that Devan Dubnyk made, the Edmonton Oilers gained more confidence.
Dubnyk stopped all 30 shots he faced to backstop the Oilers to a 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames in NHL pre-season play Sunday.
“Dubie was great,” said Edmonton head coach Tom Renney. “He was probably the difference maker when we needed him most, there’s no question.
“If Calgary gets a goal or two, we’re a little different team coming back. Devan made it very clear that he was here to win a hockey game and do everything he possibly could to do that and it sort of transferred from that point to the rest of the hockey club.”
Forward Jordan Eberle, who scored once and set up another, also praised Dubnyk’s efforts.
“He played great,” Eberle said. “You see your goalie battling like that, you want to help him out. I thought we did that on the power play. He made some key saves especially late in the game to preserve his shutout.”
Heading into the regular season, Dubnyk said he’s going to continue concentrating on fundamentals, especially positioning.
“That’s kind of my biggest thing,” the six-foot-five, 210-pound netminder said. “If I’m in the right spot, for the most part I’m a pretty big guy so pucks will hit me if there’s some weird bounces.”
Dubnyk also credited his teammates for playing well in front of him.
“They did a good job getting to rebounds,” he said. “When there’s not a whole ton of second chances, it makes it easier for me.”
Linus Omark also had a goal and an assist for Edmonton, Shawn Horcoff scored once, while Taylor Fedun had a pair of assists.
The Oilers also beat Calgary 2-1 on Saturday in Edmonton to win both games of the home-and-home series. Edmonton improved to 3-2-0 in exhibition action.
Starting Calgary netminder Henrik Karlsson took the loss after making 11 saves through a period and a half of action. Miikka Kiprusoff played the second half of the game and stopped 10 of 12 shots he faced.
Although the Flames fell to 1-3-0 in pre-season play, forward Curtis Glencross isn’t worried.
“I think you guys are reading into things too much,” Glencross said. “It’s just pre-season.
“We outplayed them for the first period. They got a lucky goal and a couple of mental mistakes on the PK, and that’s the game. It’s not like they outplayed us or anything.”
The Flames outshot the Oilers 8-6 in a scoreless first period that didn’t impress Renney.
“I’m not sure how interested either team was in playing tonight,” Renney said. “We addressed that and our guys responded well and got some timely goals on the power play.”
Dubnyk made a nice pad save off a shot from the slot by Roman Horak during an early Calgary power play. Karlsson then made a pair of great glove grabs off of shots by Gilbert Brule and Eberle to keep the game scoreless.
Early in the middle period, Dubnyk made a shoulder save to turn aside a shot by Calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester before also blocking the rebound off the stick of Glencross.
The Oilers opened the scoring at 6:59 of the second period on a goal by Horcoff. Omark set up the play by driving hard to the net before kicking the puck on net. Karlsson made the initial save before Horcoff tapped in the rebound.
After assisting on a power-play goal by Omark, Eberle fired a perfect shot to the top corner past Kiprusoff with on another Edmonton man advantage.
Dubnyk kept his shutout in tact early in the third period when he stood his ground to stop a hard shot by Calgary’s Carter Bancks during a short-handed rush. The Edmonton goalie then made a nice kick save on a point blank shot during a Calgary power play by Bouwmeester.
“That was a little bit old school,” Dubnyk said. “I got the toe up. It was a classic kick save.”
Notes: The Flames and Oilers will next face off against each other on Oct. 18 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary’s second home game of the regular season. … The Flames had killed off 10 straight power-play chances in the pre-season before Omark scored with Edmonton enjoying a man advantage in the second period. … The Oilers converted two of six power-play opportunities, while the Flames went 0-for-5.