EDMONTON – There’s still a flicker of hope in the Calgary Flames’ playoff aspirations.
Alex Tanguay scored the shootout winner as the Flames overcame a three-goal third-period deficit to defeat the rival Edmonton Oilers 5-4 on Saturday.
Jarome Iginla had a pair of goals and Curtis Glencross and Steve Staios also scored for the Flames (38-28-11), who snapped a three-game winless skid and kept their playoff hopes alive.
Calgary sits one point back of eighth-place Chicago in the Western Conference playoff race with just five games remaining on their schedule. The Blackhawks have three games in hand.
After trailing 4-1 early in the third, the Flames kept on fighting and scored the equalizer with just 1:55 left to play in the third as former Oiler Staios pinched in to score from the side of the net and send the game to overtime.
“That was awesome,” Iginla said. “That felt as great as any goal we have scored all year. Everybody jumped when he scored. That was a playoff game for us. That was our playoff lives and we get to live again.”
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was just as enthused about his team’s incredible ability to bounce back.
“It was an unbelievable comeback,” he said. “Everybody knows how huge those points were for us. We have to be pretty happy right now.”
Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen, Colin Fraser and Ryan Jones replied for the Oilers (23-41-11) who have lost nine in a row and hold a virtual lock on finishing in last place in the NHL for a second consecutive season.
Jones said it would have been a good feeling to put the Flames on the brink of elimination.
“We knew they were a team pushing for the playoffs and that they were going to sell the farm to try to do it,” he said. “It would have been great. If you look at the game in its entirety, for the first 50 minutes we showed signs that we were going to be a great hockey team.”
Oilers head coach Tom Renney bristled at suggestions that his team has nothing to play for but a chance to serve as spoilers.
“There’s lots to fight for,” he said. “This is about securing your NHL opportunity and continuing to work on our identity as a team. This is about making sure that our opponents have respect for us in terms of how hard we play. That has to translate into winning at some point in time.”
Edmonton scored the first goal of the game with just under five minutes to play in the first as Andrew Cogliano made a nice feed to Paajarvi, and the Oiler rookie batted home his own rebound for his 12th goal of the season.
Kiprusoff kept the Oilers from expanding their lead early in the second with a big save on a breakaway by Hartikainen.
Calgary tied the game up at 1-1 eight minutes into the middle frame on a power-play blast from the point by Iginla but Edmonton responded one minute later as Hartikainen fought off a pair of defenders and muscled the puck into the net for this first NHL goal.
The Oilers took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room as Fraser picked off a pass and went in on a short-handed two-on-one break with Ryan Jones, electing to shoot himself and putting it between Kiprusoff’s legs with just 26 seconds to play in the period.
Edmonton went up by three goals three minutes into the third as a Ryan O’Marra shot got past Kiprusoff and was aided on its way into the net by Jones.
Calgary remained in the game with another power play goal six minutes into the third as Iginla once again crept in from the point to beat Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk with a long shot, his 36th goal of the season.
The Flames continued to fight for their playoff lives and got back to within one goal with eight minutes remaining as Jim Vandermeer got turned around in his own zone and Glencross stole the puck and broke in alone to score on Dubnyk and make it 4-3.
Edmonton returns to the ice on Tuesday to host Los Angeles while Calgary is off until Wednesday when they will return home to face Anaheim.
Notes: It was the fifth meeting between the two teams this season, with Calgary winning three in a row after losing in the season opener for both squads. They will meet a final time in Calgary on April 6…After sweeping all six meetings between the clubs last season, the Flames came into the game having won 10 out of the last 11 in the series…The Oilers are converting at just 13.0 per cent on the power play for the season last in the NHL. Edmonton was three for 36 during their last eight losses…Calgary forward Niklas Hagman missed his second consecutive game with concussion-like symptoms…Calgary captain Jarome Iginla got a point for the first time in his last seven games playing in his hometown of Edmonton…Flame Jay Bouwmeester played in his 500th consecutive game on Wednesday, the longest current streak in the league and the longest by a defenceman in NHL history.