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Hanifin helps surging Flames scorch Oilers 6-3

The Calgary Flames scored on their first shot and never looked back on Saturday.

Noah Hanifin had two goals and an assist as the Flames bulldozed their way to a 6-3 victory over the rival Edmonton Oilers.

“It was a great team effort tonight,” Hanifin said. “We needed to get a win against those guys, we’ve had a tough time playing them lately and I thought we had a really good start to the game.

“We played with a lot of emotion and passion, and that’s something you’ve got to do when you play a team with that much skill. I thought it was a really complete game for us.”

Nazeem Kadri, Martin Pospisil, Dryden Hunt and Blake Coleman also scored for the Flames (28-25-5) who have won three in a row.

“It’s the consistency we’d like to see,” said Flames head coach Ryan Huska. “We’ve been fighting it, and if there’s a knock on us it’s been our inability to put streaks together and our inability to stop streaks.

“And I think a lot of that comes down to leadership. I think it comes down to being able to turn the page when something doesn’t go your way within a game, or when it does go your way you stay straight ahead and make sure you don’t change your game plan.”

Zach Hyman had a pair of goals and Mattias Janmark also scored for the Oilers (33-20-2) who have suddenly gone ice cold with three consecutive losses.

“I mean, it’s an 82-game season. Would you like to play perfect every 10-game stretch? Sure. Are you going to? Probably not,” Hyman said. “At the same time, we’re getting closer to the playoffs and we’re still fighting for a spot. We have to learn that we can’t just flip it on and think we’re going to win every game in the third period. You have to start on time.”

Calgary got off to a terrific start, scoring on the game’s first shot just 2:02 into the opening period. Walker Duehr was able to send a pass into the slot and it was poked past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner by Kadri, who scored his 21st of the season and fourth goal in his last three games.

The Flames made it 2-0 before the midway mark of the first frame as Pospisil scored his sixth on a long snapshot high to the glove side that Skinner would likely want back.

Calgary extended its lead with four minutes to play in the first period not long after Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl missed a glorious opportunity against Dan Vladar in the Calgary net. The Oilers then turned it over in the neutral zone, leading to a nice pass from Mikael Backlund to set up Hanifin for his 10th of the campaign.

The Oilers finally woke up on the power play with 1:31 to play in the first as Connor McDavid’s long pass found Hyman at the side of the net and he was able to whack in a second attempt. It was Hyman’s fourth straight game with a goal. McDavid extended his home-game point streak to 22 games, eclipsing his personal best such streak which was established last year.

Edmonton pulled back to within a goal 4:34 into the second period as Draisaitl sent Hyman in on a breakaway with a long pass from one knee and Hyman was able to deke past Vladar and score on the backhand. It was Hyman’s 37th goal of the season, besting his previous career high, set last season.

Calgary had a chance to regain its two-goal edge shortly after, but Jonathan Huberdeau missed a wide-open net.

Huberdeau made up for it with 8:13 left in the second period, sending a perfect pass from behind the net out front to Hunt, who blasted his first goal of the season past Skinner.

The Flames went up 5-2 with a power-play goal a couple minutes later after Edmonton failed to clear the zone and the puck came across to Hanifin, who had a wide-open net to deposit his second goal of the game.

Edmonton pulled its goalie with more than seven minutes left in the third and the move was unsuccessful as Coleman scored his 23rd on a long shot into the empty net.

The Oilers were able to make the final score look a little bit better as Janmark notched his fourth of the season with just under four minutes remaining.

“We’ve got to get back to the basics a little bit and get back to what makes us a dangerous group,” Draisaitl said. “It has obviously not been a great stretch for us, so we need to get back to basics and back to work.”

NOTES

It was the third meeting of the season between the two rival squads. Edmonton won the Heritage Classic 5-2 over the Flames at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 29 and then also captured the second meeting on the road, defeating Calgary 3-1 on Jan. 20. They will meet for a fourth and final time in Calgary on April 6. … Calgary defenceman Brayden Pachal picked up an assist on his team’s second goal for his first point as a Flame since being claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights earlier this month. … Vladar made his first start since Jan. 20 as Jacob Markstrom served as the backup because of an illness. Also out with an illness for Calgary was Andrei Kuzmenko, while Dillon Dube (undisclosed) was also absent.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Play the fourth game of a five-game homestand on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.

Flames: Start a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2024.

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