The Calgary Flames haven’t had much go right this season, but everything certainly came together for one night on Saturday.
Curtis Glencross had a hat trick and Matt Stajan had a goal and three assists as the Flames scored four goals in a 3:05 span of the second period to come away with a devastating 8-1 victory over the rival Edmonton Oilers.
“What a great game,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “We wanted to redeem ourselves from (Friday) night’s game. I could see that the boys were not very impressed with the performance from last night. We just worked very simple, we were very effective and we scored some great goals.”
Mike Cammalleri, Mark Giordano, Paul Byron and Kevin Westgarth also scored for the Flames (29-35-7) who have won four of their last six and sit 26th overall in the NHL.
Nobody was expecting that kind of offensive explosion, however.
“It’s been a challenge for us to produce offence this year,” Cammalleri said. “It’s nice to see pucks go in like they did. You don’t expect to score eight goals every night, but it’s nice to get that feeling where you feel like the puck is going to go in the net for us.”
It was an emotional game for Stajan, who pointed up to the sky after scoring on a penalty shot in honour of his newborn son, who died earlier this month.
“That one means a lot,” he said. “It’s been obviously not easy and that one was for the little guy. It felt good and it gave us some puck-luck after too. We’ll move on now and I’ll remember that one forever.”
Jeff Petry replied for the Oilers (25-38-9), who have lost two in a row and remain in second last place in the league.
“It’s pretty obvious how bad we played tonight. We are obviously very frustrated with how we played this game,” said Oilers winger David Perron.
“It is pretty embarrassing. We all know how bad it was and that the fans weren’t happy. If I was sitting in the stands, I would have been doing the same thing they were doing.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins agreed that the fans were within their rights to voice their disproval to the team.
“That was probably the longest last 15 minutes of a game that I have ever been involved with,” he said. “I apologize to the fans who were here tonight and had to watch it. It was painful on the bench and I’m sure it was painful in the stands. We hope it is just a blip on the radar because we have been playing pretty well lately.
“I understand the frustration tonight. Especially losing to Calgary. No disrespect to Calgary, they are working hard and have had a tough year as well. But that is our rival, so it stings even worse.”
The Oilers started the scoring with a power-play goal four-and-a-half minutes in as Petry sent a long slapshot from the point through a sea of legs and past a screened Karri Ramo in his return to the Calgary net for the first time in seven weeks.
Calgary tied the game four minutes later as Giordano got all of a shot from the top of the face-off circle, sending a bullet off the crossbar and into the Oiler net behind Edmonton starter Viktor Fasth.
The Flames went up 2-1 four minutes into the second period as Mikael Backlund sent a cross-ice pass to Cammalleri, who was able to pick the corner with a quick shot before Fasth could get across the net. It was Cammalleri’s 23rd of the season.
The floodgates opened from there.
A minute later, Calgary had a two-goal advantage. Stajan was awarded a penalty shot after a rather suspect slashing call on a breakaway from Edmonton defender Mark Fraser. Stajan made the most of the one-on-one opportunity, beating Fasth glove-side with a backhand shot.
The Flames scored their third goal in a 1:47 span as Cammalleri stopped short on a quick breakout and allowed two Edmonton defenders to go sliding past before feeding the puck to Byron at the side of the net for his sixth of the season.
Just 1:18 later the Flames made it four goals in just over three minutes as Glencross tucked a shot over Fasth’s shoulder. Ben Scrivens replaced Fasth, who allowed five goals on 16 shots.
Late in the second period, Oiler Taylor Hall threw a water bottle in frustration while sitting on the Oiler bench that ended up spraying the coaching staff, earning a terse scolding from head coach Dallas Eakins.
“That stuff happens,” Hall said. “Dallas and I have a great relationship. At times we all get a little frustrated with how things are going and sometimes you need to take a step back and realize that frustration isn’t going to accomplish anything.
“I don’t expect anything more. We are all good.”
Calgary made it 6-1 five minutes into the third period as a Glencross shot hit the stick of Edmonton’s Justin Schultz and went through Scrivens’ legs.
The Flames then struck again 37 seconds later as a Tyler Wotherspoon shot that was going wide was batted out of the air and in by Westgarth at the side of the net.
The frustration continued for Edmonton as a jersey was thrown on the ice soon afterwards, prompting Scrivens to hook it up with his stick and fling it back into the crowd.
“I always feel like as a fan, you pay your money and you get to do whatever you want,” Scrivens explained. “If you want to boo me, jeer me, call me every name, you are entitled to that. You could spit on me for all I care, if I deserve it. But when I see a jersey thrown on the icea I’m from here. You are not just disrespecting the guys in this room, you are disrespecting guys who wore this jersey before us. All of the great guys who have pulled this sweater over their heads, Gretzky, Messier, they all took great pride wearing that jersey.
“That logo is a sacred thing for us. It is disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way.”
Calgary made it 8-1 with just under seven minutes to play as Glencross recorded his hat trick goal on a long shot through traffic for his 10th goal of the season.
The Flames return home for a three-game set, starting with the San Jose Sharks on Monday. The Oilers play the fourth game of a six-game homestand on Tuesday, also against the Sharks.