CALGARY—Tempers flared — and the goalies fought — in the latest instalment of the Battle of Alberta, an 8-3 win by the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
“When we start better, we start on time,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who chipped in four assists.
He also commented on a controversial moment the last time the teams met: Calgary goalie David Rittich’s stick-flip celebration following his shootout-winning save against the NHL’s leading scorer last Wednesday.
“It’s just disrespectful,” Draisaitl said. “We hit two posts and he’s celebrating like they just won the Stanley Cup. Just show some respect, that’s my opinion.”
Edmonton goalie Mike Smith, who spent the last two seasons as Rittich’s teammate in Calgary, acknowledged that the pair are friends but added that the Flames netminder took things too far.
“What goes around comes around,” said Smith.
Smith made 15 saves to record the win, even though he was ejected with 24 seconds left in the second period for a secondary fight with Flames netminder Cam Talbot. Mikko Koskinen played the final 20:24 in net for the Oilers and stopped all eight shots he faced.
“They kind of took it to us the last three times we’ve played them,” added Smith, who signed with the Oilers on July 1 after two seasons with the Flames. “I feel like we hadn’t played our best game against Calgary yet. Tonight was a lot better.”
David Rittich started in net for Calgary, but was pulled 3:18 into the second period after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Talbot made 21 saves in a relief appearance before being ejected from the game for the secondary fight with Smith. Rittich then went back in net and made nine more saves.
Tempers flared with 24 seconds left before the second intermission when Gagner poked a puck that was under Talbot into the net.
Although the goal was immediately waved off, several skirmishes broke out including a fight between Tkachuk and Ethan Bear and another at centre ice between Smith and Talbot.
“In a game like that, it kinds of sets you off and I reacted accordingly – probably not the smartest reaction on my part, but it is a highly emotional game and my emotions got the best of me,” Talbot said.
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Smith didn’t like seeing Talbot mix it up with his teammates, so he skated out to the red line.
“Old-fashioned hockey right there,” Smith said. “Obviously Talbot gets in there and mixes up a little bit, throws some blockers. I didn’t really like that. I was just seeing what was happening there. He obliged.”
The teams were subsequently sent to their respective rooms and the remaining 24 seconds were played just prior to the start of the third period.