It’s normal to expect disappointment from highly anticipated sequels. Age of Ultron was the weakest Avengers movie. Several of the Spider-Man sequels were bad. But Wednesday night’s highly anticipated rematch between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers delivered to a high degree. Goals, fights and big saves (from “Big Save Dave” Rittich) were on display as the Flames gutted out a 4-3 shootout triumph.

The Rundown

The visitors hit the scoresheet early off a rough bounce for Edmonton. Elias Lindholm hucked the puck to the net front area, hoping for a Matthew Tkachuk redirect. Instead he got an Adam Larsson redirect past Mike Smith to make it 1-0 Flames.

Sean Monahan almost doubled the lead, but a trickling puck was swept away from the goalie line before it got all the way across. Monahan later fought Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It was an eventful period for him. Later still, Matthew Tkachuk fought Zack Kassian to appease the Code of the fickle hockey gods.

Shots were 17-12 Oilers and scoring chances 11-6 Oilers in the first period.

Mike Smith put the puck over the glass early in the second period. The Flames got four shots on the following power play and zero goals. Shortly after that penalty expired, the Oilers won an offensive zone face-off and Kailer Yamamoto jammed home a loose rebound to tie the game at 1-1.

But the Flames regained the lead off a nice feed from Sam Bennett. He found Andrew Mangiapane near the face-off dot and the winger uncorked a one-timer past Smith to make it a 2-1 lead for Calgary.

But later on, with Mark Giordano in the penalty box, Alex Chiasson poked home a loose puck on a power play goal-mouth scramble to tie the game at 2-2.

But before the period ended, Mangiapane scored a beauty off a feed from Matthew Tkachuk. Mangiapane took a pass from the corner and cut across the low slot, waiting out Smith and back-handing it past him to make it 3-2 Flames heading into the intermission.

Shots were 11-10 Oilers and chances 7-4 Oilers in the middle period.

But the Oilers got many, many power plays in the third period and kept their momentum going. Eventually, back at even strength, Matt Benning pinched, dangled past Noah Hanifin and beat Rittich to tie the game at 3-3.

Shots were 4-4 and chances 3-1 Oilers in the third period.

Overtime solved nothing so it went to a shootout. Monahan scored five-hole on Smith. Nugent-Hopkins hit the right post. Connor McDavid hit the left post. Leon Draisiatl got poke-checked. The Flames won 4-3.

Why the Flames Won

The Flames didn’t look overly tired and they battled for much of the evening. Their goalie was better than Edmonton’s goalie, and they out-scored the Oilers 3-2 at even strength. If you can do that on the road, you’ll be successful more often than not.

Red Warrior

Rittich was en fuego, as the Spanish-speaking kids say these days.

Mangiapane also had two nice goals, so hooray for that youngster as well.

The Turning Point

All the third period penalty kills were huge. But the late kill on Buddy Robinson’s minor got the Flames to overtime.

The Numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.

Andersson 63.0 77.8 1.275
Monahan 61.9 62.5 0.410
Gaudreau 59.1 62.5 0.275
Kylington 57.7 75.0 0.200
Ryan 52.6 50.0 0.310
Giordano 52.2 33.3 0.450
Robinson 50.0 60.0 -0.050
Rinaldo 47.1 50.0 -0.200
Brodie 46.2 40.0 0.175
Mangiapane 45.0 27.3 1.840
Tkachuk 44.0 33.3 1.075
Backlund 41.7 33.3 -0.115
Lucic 41.7 33.3 0.565
Bennett 41.4 37.5 0.415
Rieder 34.8 40.0 -0.385
Hanifin 33.3 25.0 -0.475
Lindholm 31.8 28.6 0.775
Hamonic 31.7 25.0 0.050
Rittich 0.850

This and That

The Flames have now clinched the season series against the Oilers, winning two games at Rogers Place.

McDavid was furious about a second period check by Mark Giordano that he felt was dirty. McDavid chipped the puck past Giordano and was trying to get around him as Giordano stuck his butt out to slow him down. It’s admittedly a greasy play meant to obstruct, but it’s not really predatory so don’t expect to hear much of anything from Player Safety on it.

Up Next

The Flames (27-19-6) host the Oilers again on Saturday night. The Oilers host the Blues first on Friday night, though.

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