It was an epic end to a momentous evening. It was the last Battle Of Alberta that would be played at Rexall Place in Edmonton. And, as expected, the Flames took the win in front of a C of Red, who helped celebrate great memories at the arena.
The Oilers owned the period with pressure early on the Flames net. But Joni Ortio was focused and on his game, keeping the Flames alive long enough to notch a short-handed goal. During a Flames powerplay, Backlund opened the scoring 1-0. Yet another non-call on a tripping penalty against Johnny saw Gaudreau favouring his arm as he skated to the bench. This poor kid gets beaten up every game and I haven't seen a lot of calls against his instigators in the last few weeks. Dougie Hamilton shot a bullet from the blue line but couldn't get through the Oilers defense. I'm sure someone was hurting after taking that blocked shot. Dougie would redeem himself a short while later during another Flames powerplay, but the goal would be called off due to Joe Colborne interfering with the goalie. The score was 1-0 for the Flames after 20 minutes.
Not the most entertaining period, but the Battle Of Alberta is alive and well as scrum after scrum broke out behind the nets. Nothing came of it, but it's nice to see the old rivalry still alive and kicking. Two powerplays couldn't help the Flames widen the gap, but an even-strength play among Jyrki Jokipakka, Mikael Backlund, and Joe Colborne put the visiting team up 2-0. In spite of a 4 on 2 play in favour of the Oilers, Ortio robbed them, stealing away what should have been an easy goal. The score was 2-0 for the good guys after the second period.
About 3 minutes into the period, Sean Monahan took a shot on net, Micheal Ferland picked up the rebound and kept it in play, and Johnny Gaudreau came in from the side to slap the puck into the net. The Flames were up 3-0. During another Flames powerplay, Johnny would notch another goal and put the Flames up by 4 goals. It would also be Gaudreau's 30th goal of the season. In his second year in the NHL. Unbelievable! After Sam Bennett was slapped with a hooking infraction, the penalty would end and Backlund would score just as Sam made his way out of the box. The Flames ended the Battle Of Alberta at Rexall Place with a 5-0 win. Congrats to Ortio for the 28 saves and the shutout!
Flame Of The Game
Mikael Backlund. With 2 goals and 1 assist in tonight's game, Backlund has progressed quite well this season. He creates plays, he takes shots on net, and he's had unmistakable chemistry with Michael Frolik in the past few months. And to think, about 2-3 years ago, a few of us questioned whether or not he was going through a slump or if his regression was permanent. Backlund is out of the slump and he's an asset to the Flames future.