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Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, left, celebrates his goal on the Calgary Flames with teammate Teemu Hartikainen, right, during first period NHL hockey game action in Edmonton on Friday, March 16, 2012. (John Ulan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, left, celebrates his goal on the Calgary Flames with teammate Teemu Hartikainen, right, during first period NHL hockey game action in Edmonton on Friday, March 16, 2012. (John Ulan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Oilers deal blow to Flames' playoff push Add to ...

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of goals as the Edmonton Oilers did their best to slow down the Calgary Flames' playoff push with a 3-1 victory over their provincial rivals on Friday.

Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists for the Oilers (28-36-7), who won their second in a row.

Mark Giordano responded for the Flames (34-26-12) who had their five-game winning streak ended and their climb in the Western Conference playoff race slowed. Calgary remained in a tie for ninth with San Jose, a single point back of eight-place Colorado.

The game got off to a scary start as Oilers star Taylor Hall lost his balance and took a hard shot to the head from Flames defenceman Cory Sarich along the boards. Hall looked woozy as he was helped off the ice to the dressing room and did not return to the game.

The Flames came very close to getting on the board five minutes into the match as Alex Tanguay slid a puck underneath Oilers starter Devan Dubnyk. The puck travelled along the goal-line before hitting the post and being fished to safety.

The Oilers took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period as Eberle made a backhand pass to Nugent-Hopkins, who sent a wrist shot past Calgary goalie Leland Irving for his 17th goal of the season.

Edmonton took a two-goal lead with five minutes to play in the opening period as Eberle came out from the boards and put a laser beam of a shot into the top corner for his 31st of the year.

Calgary had another good chance to cut into the lead when Tanguay got loose for a breakaway eight minutes into the second, but he rang his shot off the post.

The Flames finally caught a big break with eight minutes to play in the second as a hopeful point shot by Giordano hit a pair of Oilers on the way to the net, giving Dubnyk no chance on the play.

Edmonton restored its two-goal advantage midway through the third as the rebound from a Ryan Jones shot came to Nugent-Hopkins in front, and he slid his second goal of the game into a wide-open net.

Both teams are back in action on Sunday when the Oilers will host Phoenix and the Flames return home to play Columbus.

Notes: It was the sixth and final meeting between the provincial rivals. Calgary won the first four encounters before the Oilers finally captured a 6-1 victory in their last match in Calgary on Feb. 21. Prior to that win Edmonton was a woeful 1-13-3 in games against the Flames. ... Edmonton has not had much success at home against the Flames, coming into the game with losses in four straight at Rexall Place and nine of its past 12 at home in the series. ... Calgary captain Jarome Iginla entered the game with 34 goals and 81 points in 87 career games vs. Edmonton. ... AHL call-up Teemu Hartikainen drew into the Edmonton lineup with Ben Eager out with a sore back. ... The Oilers opted to sit out F Linus Omark and go with seven defencemen for the game... The Flames were without D T.J. Brodie (upper body), D Chris Butler (leg), F Tim Jackman (upper body), F Michael Cammalleri (upper body) F Mikael Backlund (arm). Lee Stempniak (ankle) and Lance Bouma (upper body) were also out but have been skating and could be back soon.

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