EDMONTON – It definitely felt like one that got away from the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Todd Bertuzzi recorded the shootout winner as the Calgary Flames won for the fourth time in their last five outings, defeating the Oilers 3-2.
The Oilers had the lead until a breakdown with just 1:05 left to play allowed Matthew Lombardi to go in on a two-on-one and beat Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson with a bullet.
“It was a mis-execution on the game-trying goal,” said Edmonton head coach Craig MacTavish. “It was a nothing play. We had done a good job checking in the last five minutes of the game but we came out of our defensive formation and they capitalized. Lombardi put a nice shot in to tie it. It was tough to recover from.”
Jarome Iginla also scored in regulation for the Flames who improved to 35-18-6 on the season.
“It’s a big win for our team,” said Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf. “They’re not always going to be pretty but especially on the road against a team that played very hard . . . the effort was there but it was not pretty. But you’ve got to win those ones too.”
With Calgary missing a number of players with injuries at the moment, Iginla was impressed with how his teammates reacted, particularly killing a major five-on-three penalty early in the third.
“It’s a big challenge for us with some key guys out for us,” he said. “They’re up 2-1 and you come out of there with the kill and you almost know you’re going to find a way to tie it. When you get those, you know right there it could go either way and it always seems to work like that.”
Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky replied for the Oilers (29-25-4) who lost their third in a row but managed to stay in a tie with Anaheim at 63 points for the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference with the point.
“Over the course of 82 games you are going to lose a couple in the last minute or two,” said Oilers assistant captain Shawn Horcoff, who assisted on both Edmonton goals.
“We’ll take the point and move on at this point in the season. We don’t have any time to sit and dwell on negatives. They are a good hockey team and we played a good game against them. Obviously we would have like two points but we only got the one.”
Edmonton started the scoring with seven and a half minutes to go in the opening period as Horcoff made a nice backhand pass through traffic to get the puck to Cole who beat Calgary starter Miikka Kiprusoff high to the stick side for his 14th of the season.
The Flames had their fair share of first period opportunities, none better than with just over a minute remaining when Roloson came across with a quick kick save to stop Michael Cammalleri at the side of the net.
Calgary drew even with three minutes to play in the second period as defender Cory Sarich faked a shot before dishing the puck to Iginla who swatted his 22nd into a wide open net with Roloson frozen on the play.
Edmonton regained the lead just 1:46 into the third frame as Horcoff fed Hemsky on the right hand side and his quick shot seemed to surprise Kiprusoff. It was Hemsky’s team-leading 19th goal of the season.
The Flames looked like toast after a massive collision between Flames teammates Dustin Boyd and David Moss with three minutes to play, but they were able to even the game up with just over a minute to play when Lombardi streamed up the ice with Kiprusoff on the bench and blasted a shot past Roloson to send it to overtime.
Roloson was required to make a point blank save with just over a second left on Cammalleri to push the game to the shootout.
Bertuzzi had the only goal in the shootout as the Oilers didn’t put up much of an challenge, unable to get any of their three shots on net.
“I can’t think of a way to make it any easier on the goalie than what we did in the shootout tonight,” MacTavish said. “The shootout was very disappointing.”
Both teams are off until Tuesday when the Oilers will play host to Tampa Bay and the Flames return home to take on Columbus.
Notes: Calgary has had its fair share of injuries of late with Mark Giordano sidelined for the game with an upper body injury and Rene Bourque gone after he sprained his ankle against Minnesota on Wednesday. Bourque is third among Flames scorers with 21 goals. The Flames were already without the services of Andre Roy (concussion), Daymond Langkow (hand), Wayne Primeau (foot) and Rhett Warrener (shoulder). . . . To fill some of their holes the Flames called up Jamie Lundmark and Kyle Greentree from the Quad City Flames of the AHL. . . . Dwayne Roloson made his 15th consecutive start for the Oilers, every single game since Mathieu Garon was traded to Pittsburgh on Jan. 17.