Flames beat Oilers 9-5 despite Draisaitl’s hat trick

Mar 26, 2022, 10:36 AM | Updated: Mar 27, 2022, 12:36 am

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith, left, lets in a goal from Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk during...

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith, left, lets in a goal from Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk had two goals and two assists, Johnny Gaudreau set a career high with five assists and the Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 9-5 in a wild game Saturday night.

Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick to pace Edmonton (36-25-5), tying Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the NHL lead with 47 goals. Derick Brassard and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers.

Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund each scored twice for Calgary (40-17-8). Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington and Dillon Dube added a goal apiece.

Tkachuk has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last four games, while Gaudreau also has 11 points in that same span (three goals, eight assists).

“The big line was the difference,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. “They had a good night and they’ve been good at 5-on-5 all year. There’s something to be said about the difference between goals for and goals against when you’re on the ice.”

Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves for the Flames and improved to 31-12-7.

Mike Smith, in relief of Mikko Koskinen, stopped 22 of the 26 shots he faced. Koskinen allowed five goals on 12 shots.

“It’s not on our goalies. It’s on us,” said Draisaitl, who was minus-4 despite the three goals and an assist. “It’s an off night. Not good enough, obviously. Starts with me. I have to be a lot better.”

Connor McDavid also was minus-4, a career worst.

The provincial rivals ended up splitting their four-game season series.

“That was a lot of fun,” Gaudreau said. “I’ve been here for a long time and this is the most competitive the Battle of Alberta has been since I’ve been here.”

In front of a raucous crowd of 19,289, Calgary’s first sellout since February 21, 2020, against Boston, the game was a thriller from start to finish with the goals coming seemingly non-stop.

In the third period, Flames fans chanted “We want 10!” and rose to their feet as the final horn approached.

“Pretty cool when you got a standing ovation with a minute or two to play,” Tkachuk acknowledged.

With the score tied 4-all early in the second period, the Flames took their third and final lead on a pair of goals less than three minutes apart from Tkachuk.

At 5:06, Gaudreau muscled his way past Evan Bouchard to retrieve a loose puck, then spun and sent a pass into the slot to a wide-open Tkachuk, who sent a shot through Koskinen’s pads. That ended the night for Koskinen.

It didn’t start off any better for Smith, who was beaten between the pads by Tkachuk at 7:39 when an Oilers turnover in their own end allowed Gaudreau to find Tkachuk in behind the defense.

“He plays a complete game. It’s not about goals and assists always,” Sutter said about Gaudreau. “You’ve got to play the whole game. He’s our best checker. I’ve said that lots.”

Brandishing a dangerous power play, the Oilers roared back again, making it 6-5 when they converted a two-man advantage they got when Erik Gudbranson was sent off for high-sticking three seconds into Andrew Mangiapane’s penalty.

Draisaitl’s third of the game at 9:18 of the second and 47th of the season brought about 50 hats onto the ice from the boisterous Oilers supporters scattered throughout the red-clad crowd.

Early in the third, Markstrom robbed Evander Kane after he was set up in front on a great passing sequence with McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi that would have tied it. Calgary then pushed the puck up ice, with Gaudreau setting up Lindholm for his second of the night to make it 7-5.

“I told Marky after the game, that’s the difference,” Sutter said. “There’s lots of goalies where the coaches yank them, or the goalie doesn’t play very good after that. Difference in a lot of teams are big saves and bad goals.”

The Flames added an insurance goal just more than three minutes later when Backlund notched his second, whipping a shot inside the post.

Edmonton scored 32 seconds into the game when Brassard deflected Bouchard’s point shot past Markstrom, but the Oilers’ only lead lasted less than five minutes.

Lindholm was sent in alone on a pass from Tkachuk and he went to his backhand, putting a shot under the crossbar.

The Flames then surged in front on goals 16 seconds apart.

“We’ve spent the last five weeks or so trying to improve certain areas of our game, and I thought we got away from it tonight and we paid the price,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft, who is 13-7-2 since taking over for Dave Tippett. “That stings. It’s nine even-strength goals against. Not good enough.”

NOTES: Gaudreau and Lindholm are tied for the NHL lead at plus-49. Tkachuk is fourth at plus-42. … Noah Hanifin played his 500th NHL game. At 25 years, 60 days, he’s the fifth-youngest defenseman in NHL history to reach the milestone and youngest since 1994. … Flames center Ryan Carpenter made his debut after being acquired from Chicago at Monday’s trade deadline. He centered a line with Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis.


Edmonton: Hosts Arizona in the opener of three-game homestand.

Calgary: Hosts Colorado on Tuesday in the fourth game of a six-game homestand.


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Flames beat Oilers 9-5 despite Draisaitl’s hat trick