EDMONTON – Jarome Iginla made sure Calgary’s perfect pre-season continued Friday night against their previously unbeaten provincial rival.
Iginla scored a pair of goals as the Flames improved to 6-0 in pre-season play with a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Niklas Hagman, Jon Rheault and TJ Brodie also scored for the Flames.
“They had the momentum at 1-0,” Iginla said. “Fortunately we were able to weather it and I felt we got stronger as the game went on. They came out with a good push early. It was the quickest game we have seen yet in the pre-season.”
Flames head coach Brent Sutter credited the play of goaltender Henrik Karlsson.
“He played really well,” he said. “I was a little worried in the first period and part of the second where there were some rebounds out in the slot. But from that point on he seemed to control it and got really in sync for us once our bench got short. He was stellar from that point on.”
The Flames were down three forwards by the end of the game as Tim Jackman was ejected for being in a secondary fight and Ales Kotalik and David Moss left the game with undisclosed second period injuries.
Steve MacIntyre scored in response for the Oilers (4-1).
Oiler head coach Tom Renney took the loss in stride.
“It’s exhibition game number five,” he said. “We have never suggested that we didn’t have a lot of work to do and some nurturing of individuals that are brand new to us. I think we have demonstrated some chemistry but it is getting tougher now.
“As a coaching staff we would have liked to see something like this happen a little earlier to be honest so we would have had more time to work with the team as reality sets in.”
It didn’t take long for tensions between the two rivals to heat up as Flame Raitis Ivanans and MacIntyre dropped the gloves in a prolonged heavyweight fight just seven minutes in.
The Flames doubled the Oilers 8-4 in shots in the scoreless first period.
Shortly after another set of tussles that saw Calgary’s Jackman and Edmonton’s Jim Vandermeer tossed from the game for fighting while another bout was underway, Oilers coach Tom Renney sent MacIntyre out for the next shift.
He probably wasn’t expecting a goal out of him, but that’s what he got three minutes into the second as MacIntyre tipped a Theo Peckham point shot past Karlsson.
The Flames tied the game 1-1 just past the midmark of the second on the power play when Hagman’s wrist shot clipped Oiler defender Tom Gilbert and got past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who was playing just his second game since getting injured last November.
Calgary took the lead with just 16.8 seconds remaining in the middle frame as Iginla danced past Peckham and chipped a shot past Khabibulin.
Iginla gave the Flames a 3-1 lead just 13 seconds into the third as he took a pass from behind the net by Alex Tanguay and rang one off the cross-bar. The puck landed behind Khabibulin but was banked in off of his skate and in when Shawn Horcoff tried to sweep it out of harm’s way.
“I thought it was in off the shot but I forgot there was no video replay,” Iginla said. “It’s a good thing it went in afterwards because I am not sure how the refs would have called it.”
The Flames put the game away with 2:25 left to play as Rheault unleashed a quick shot that beat Khabibulin glove-side.
Brodie added another with less than a minute to play on the power play with MacIntyre in the box with a late spearing major.
“It was a lot faster game,” said Oilers first overall draft pick Taylor Hall. “It was a frustrating night. Things were coming at you. There were a lot of things I didn’t expect that weren’t in there the first games. I didn’t expect the pressure and the forechecking.
“It’s good though. It was a taste of what is to come and what you have to deal with.”
Notes: It was the first of three consecutive games between the Alberta rivals. The two teams play again on Sunday in Calgary and then start the season against each other in Edmonton next Thursday. . . The Flames swept the season series last year, winning all six regular season matches. . . Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray and goaltender Martin Gerber both cleared waivers on Friday after being put up for grabs on Thursday. . . The Oilers still have 32 players in camp. . . Flames Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque both remained in Calgary. Jokinen is nursing a strained torso muscle, while Bourque’s injury has not been released. Daymond Langkow (neck), Matt Stajan (shoulder) and Ryan Stone (knee) remain out indefinitely.