Nilson’s winner came with 48 seconds left in the second period. From behind the net, Alex Tanguay centred a pass to Yelle, whose shot from the slot was stopped by Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Nilson buried the rebound for his first of the season, giving head coach Jim Playfair his first NHL victory in the process.
Joffrey Lupul’s first goal as an Oiler provided the only offence for Edmonton, which defeated Calgary 3-1 Thursday night at Rexall Place.
Yelle’s tying goal came with just eight seconds left in the first. Flames newcomer Jeff Friesen collected the puck in the corner, spun, and fired the puck towards the net where Yelle neatly steered it past Roloson.
Yelle and Nilson were unlikely heroes for the Flames, considering the duo combined for just 10 goals last season.
Special teams were the story of the second period.
Edmonton was whistled for four consecutive minor penalties to begin the period, but Calgary was unable to capitalize on the opportunities, which included a 56 second two-man advantage.
After Calgary squandered its chance to take the lead, Edmonton had a prime chance of its own with a two-man advantage for a full two minutes. However, the Oilers were unable to get anything on goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff until the dying seconds, when Jarret Stoll’s shot deflected on net off the stick of Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr.
Jarome Iginla had an excellent chance to break the 1-1 tie in the second, facing an empty net after a brilliant setup by Tanguay. But the Flames’ captain lifted his shot off the crossbar.
After giving up Lupul’s power-play goal 8:59 into the first period, Kiprusoff was perfect the rest of the way, finishing the night with 21 saves. Included was a flurry of stops in the final minute as Edmonton pressured with Roloson pulled for an extra attacker.
Kiprusoff was also the benefactor of some good luck when a shot off the stick of Shawn Horcoff appeared to be heading in before hitting the skate of Lupul as he skated through the crease.
Roloson finished the night with 26 saves.
Notes: Calgary made one line-up change from opening night, inserting Jamie Lundmark at centre for Byron Ritchie. … Calgary D Rhett Warrener (knee) has begun practising but is not expected back for another week. … At home, Calgary is 7-0-1 against Edmonton since its last regulation time loss to the Oilers back on Mar. 11, 2003… Edmonton does not play again until Thursday night when it hosts the San Jose Sharks… Friesen has gone 18 games without a goal dating back to his time in Anaheim last season. … Smyth is three points away from 500 for his NHL career.