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Dougie Hamilton helps Flames snap seven-game losing skid

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Al Montoya makes a save as Calgary Flames centre Mark Jankowski tries to score during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome, in Calgary, on March 31, 2018.

Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Dougie Hamilton continues to impress despite what's become a disappointing season for the Calgary Flames.

Hamilton's league-leading 17th goal by a defenceman helped Calgary snap a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

"Quick release. (His shot) comes on you in a hurry," says Flames goaltender Mike Smith, who only has to stare it down in practice. "He changes the angle really well. He's definitely got a good shot."

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Calgary fell behind less than three minutes in, but responded with three unanswered goals before the first period ended.

The goal that ignited the rally was Hamilton's wicked 30-foot wrist shot that beat Cam Talbot at 6:43. It was the first shot he faced.

Hamilton entered the game tied with Florida's Aaron Ekblad and Columbus's Seth Jones. Since Jan. 1, Hamilton's 13 goals ties him with Sean Monahan for second on the team, one behind Matthew Tkachuk.

The 24-year-old has increased his goal total in each of the six seasons he's played in the NHL.

"It's so heavy and his release is quick, he doesn't need a wind-up to get the velocity on it. I thought Dougie had an excellent game," said Flames coach Glen Gulutzan.

Garnet Hathaway put the Flames in front at 11:54, beating Talbot on a wrister inside the post from nearly 60 feet out. The short-handed goal was Hathaway's first goal in 42 games.

Mikael Backlund made it 3-1 when he pulled the puck around Talbot and fired in his 14th goal at 15:28. That ended the evening for Talbot, replaced by Al Montoya after allowing three goals on seven shots.

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"It wasn't his best night," said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. "If we could get one of them back, we'd take it. But he's been tremendous. In the last six weeks, he's been a rock for our team."

Michael Frolik added a pair of assists for Calgary (36-33-10).

Anton Slepyshev and Mike Cammalleri had the goals for Edmonton (34-39-6).

The Oilers were the much better team in the second period, outshooting Calgary 12-5 and narrowing the deficit to 3-2 on Cammalleri's deflection at 12:41.

"A tale of two teams. First period, not good, nothing to be proud of," said Cammalleri, who hadn't scored since Dec. 28. "Second two (periods), probably more how we want to play."

In one sequence in the second, Edmonton had three odd-man rushes within the same penalty kill, but only got one shot out of it. On consecutive 2-on-1s, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl failed each time to get a shot on goal.

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Early in the third, the same duo combined again, but Draisaitl rung a shot off the post.

"The second and third period, I think we played the way that we wanted to play," said Oilers winger Milan Lucic. "One of those games, again, where one period cost us the game."

McDavid failed to pick up a point, snapping his six-game scoring streak (seven goals, seven assists).

"We decided to play harder and compete a little bit more after the first," said McLellan. "Can't complain about the effort or the opportunities we created. Numerous 2-on-1's and 3-on-2's where it's on our offensive players' sticks and they're not going in."

In addition to being peppered with 15 shots in the final 20 minutes, Smith also exchanged punches with Lucic. Smith was coming to the defence of Mark Giordano, who had been slashed by the Edmonton winger.

"It was nice to play in a game like that again. It's been a long time since we felt an emotional engagement in a game," said Smith, who had 34 stops. "It felt good to get the juices flowing again."

The power play has been a struggle for both teams and that continued with Edmonton going 0 for 5 and Calgary blanked on three tries. The Oilers are ranked last in the NHL and Calgary fell to 1 for 47 over the last 16 games.

Notes: Johnny Gaudreau (family matter) returned to the line-up after missing two games. His other winger on a line centred by Nick Shore was Edmonton-born Spencer Foo, who made his NHL debut... With the loss of Travis Hamonic (upper body), Matt Bartkowski returned to the line-up after being scratched 45 of the previous 46 games.

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey says a string of tough upcoming games against Boston and Cleveland will help keep the team in a competitive frame of mind ahead of the NBA playoffs in April. The Canadian Press
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