EDMONTON - There was definitely an old-school, playoff atmosphere on display in Edmonton on Wednesday night.
Sean Monahan scored the shootout winner as the Calgary Flames snapped a two-game skid with a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Andrew Mangiapane had a pair of goals and Elias Lindholm also scored for the Flames, who improved to 27-19-6.
“Our only concern right now is to get two points,” Monahan said. “You look at the standings and this is obviously a four-point game. You’re trying to move up a day at a time. When you’re playing your rivals like that, obviously you want to step up and want to earn those points and we did that tonight.”
Kailer Yamamoto, Alex Chiasson and Matt Benning replied for the Oilers (26-18-6), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s fun when you’re playing games that matter and tonight was one that mattered for sure,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid. “The crowd felt that, both teams felt that and it was fun for sure.”
There was a lot of intrigue going into the game as many wondered if altercations may occur in the wake of the last meeting between the two teams on Jan. 11 in Calgary where Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk delivered a pair of crushing hits on Zack Kassian, prompting the Oilers winger to jump Tkachuk, a move that earned Kassian a two-game suspension, which he returned from on Wednesday. They didn’t disappoint, as Tkachuk and Kassian squared off for a brief fight during a face-off late in the first period.
“A lot of people didn’t want me to do it, but I wanted to,” Tkachuk said. “So it was just kind of a way for me to stick up for myself and it didn’t have anything to do with owing anybody. It was just doing it for myself there.”
“Now it’s over,” Kassian added. “I wish that would have happened in the first place, then it would have been done. I respect him for stepping up to the plate.”
The Flames scored just 61 seconds into the opening period with a bit of a gift goal as a sharp angle Lindholm shot hit the stick of defender Adam Larsson’s stick and deflected past Oilers goalie Mike Smith.
Less than a minute after Calgary goalie David Rittich made a point-blank save on Connor McDavid with five minutes to play in the first, a Flames shot trickled past Smith and sat on the goal-line before being cleared to safety with a millimeter to spare by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who then got into a rare fight with Monahan on the next shift.
Edmonton tied the game six minutes into the second period as Yamamoto scored his fourth goal in his nine games up with the big club this season on a rebound.
Calgary regained the lead with seven minutes left in the middle frame as Mangiapane blasted a one-timer to the top right corner.
The Oilers evened things up again two minutes later as Chiasson scored on a rebound in tight on the power play.
Mangiapane scored his second of the game with 45 seconds left in the second, waiting out Smith before lifting in a backhand shot.
Edmonton made it 3-3 with eight minutes left in the third when defenceman Benning, who had missed the last 20 games with a head injury, made a great move to get past Noah Hanifin and beat Rittich for his first goal of the season, eventually sending the game to a thrilling overtime session where both goalies were forced to make five-alarm saves to send it to the shootout.
The Oilers are back in action on Friday when they welcome the St. Louis Blues to town, while the Flames are off until Saturday when they host Edmonton for a rematch.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2020.