Saturday, September 17, 2005

Battle of Alberta

Round 1 of this 12 round bout that will take place between the Flames and Oilers this year went to the Oilers in a 2-1 shootout before 16,839 at a sold-out Rexall Place in Edmonton.

After no scoring in the five-minute overtime period, Ryan Smyth tucked a backhand shot past Brent Krahn as Edmonton's fourth shooter in the NHL's newly implemented shootout format. Jarret Stoll also scored for the Oilers, while Matthew Lombardi had the lone goal for the Flames.

Calgary GM and coach Darryl Sutter elected to sit a host of veterans including all-star right winger and captain Jarome Iginla, goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff and trio of signees - veteran winger Tony Amonte, centre Daymond Lankow and defenceman Roman Hamrlik.
Only new Flames winger Darren McCarty, an unrestricted free agent signed from Detroit, played in the game.
Well so much far... for the new rules opening up the scoring flood gates. However the leagues' crackdown on obstruction was fully evident as 22 penalties were called on the teams, including 7 minors in the first period. The Flames also had a pair of unsuccessful two-man advantages. The Oilers killed off a minute-long two-man advantage in the third period.

The PK play of most teams this time of year will be more successful than the PP but that will change as the preseason progresses especially if the number of penalties called remains this high.

Anyone interested in diving deep into this Flames vs Oilers rivalry which many (including me) feel is the most intense and fascinating one in the NHL at the moment really should check out BATTLE OF ALBERTA run by Matt (in the south) and sacamano (up north), it's an excellent blog completely devoted to this ongoing war.

In other action...

Caps get Crushed

Gretzky's Coyotes Win... but lose Bourcher... in a shootout exhibition...
Each exhibition game is followed by a one-on-one shootout to show fans what will be done in tie games under the new system. On the first attempt by the Wild, Boucher injured his right groin moving to block Peter Olvecky's shot and had to be helped from the ice. The severity of the injury wasn't known, but it didn't look good.

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