EDMONTON â€” The Edmonton Oilers feel they are starting to get a taste of what it will be like if they should maintain their spot in the standings.
Leon Draisaitl and Mark Letestu scored in the shootout as the Oilers won their second tight game in a row, defeating the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Saturday.
Patrick Maroon scored in regulation time for the Oilers (23-15-7), who have won four of their last six games and sit second in the Pacific Division.
“We have to keep climbing the standings,” Maroon said. “That was a playoff game tonight. It was playoff atmosphere. That’s how games are going to be for the next two months and we have to find ways to play through it and battle.”
Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who made 24 saves and was perfect in the shootout session, said this game was a far cry from the first two meetings the two teams had to start the season â€” won 7-4 and 5-3 by the Oilers.
“That was more pond hockey and this was more of a playoff atmosphere,” he said. “You can tell this group is growing as a team and these tough games, we believe we are going to come out on top, whereas maybe last year where we may have found a way to lose.”
Sean Monahan replied for the Flames (23-20-3), who have lost two straight.
“I thought they had their chances, we had our chances,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “And, at the end, because of the way we are in the standings, it’s frustrating to give them the extra point
“I liked our intensity. I think if we play at that intensity and that mindset, we’ll be fine going forward.”
Calgary had a 7-5 edge on the shot clock during the scoreless first period, and had the best chance as well with Talbot having to make a huge glove save to stone Monahan on an odd-man rush eight minutes into the game.
The Oilers finally broke the deadlock with a power-play goal with 3:36 left to play in the second period. Maroon was able to fish the puck out of a scrum and chip it over Calgary goalie Brian Elliott for his team-leading 18th goal of the season and seventh in his last six games.
Elliott stopped 26-of-27 shots in defeat.
The Flames got that goal right back just 26 seconds later, however, as Monahan picked up his own rebound and batted it past Talbot to make it 1-1.
The third period was also scoreless, with the best opportunity belonging to Calgary’s Deryk Engelland, who rang a shot off the post with 12 minutes remaining.
Oiler Jordan Eberle and Flame Johnny Gaudreau both had glorious opportunities in overtime, but the game remained tied to head to the shootout.
The Oilers play the fourth game of a six-game homestand on Monday against Arizona. The Flames return home to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Notes: It was the third of four meetings between the two Alberta-based teams, with the final game going next Saturday in Calgaryâ€¦ A pre-game ceremony was held to honour Hayley Wickenheiser, who led Team Canada’s women’s hockey team to four goal medals and a silver during Winter Olympics competition. Wickenheiser, a lifelong Oilers fan, retired on Fridayâ€¦ The Oilers were without defenceman Adam Larsson, who took a puck off the foot on Thursday against New Jerseyâ€¦ Calgary centre Matt Stajan played in his 900th NHL game.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press