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Jesse Puljujarvi scores twice as Oilers hold off late Flames rally for win
Calgary Flames goalie Mike Smith looks up as Flames' Mark Giordano skates by and Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi celebrates his goal during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Drew
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:04AM MST
Edmonton picked up a big two points, but it wasn't as easy as it looked like it was going to be.
Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and Patrick Maroon had the eventual game-winner as the Oilers held off a wild third period Calgary rally to beat the Flames 7-5 on Saturday night.
The Oilers led 6-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining when Calgary scored four goals in a row in just over seven minutes to suddenly close within one.
“The first five minutes we were on them and got pucks in and got the forecheck and then they got one, they got two, they got three, they got four,” said Maroon. “My heart skipped a beat there for a second on the fifth goal.”
Pressing for the tying goal, Johnny Gaudreau had his shot on a two-on-one blockered away by Laurent Brossoit. The Flames also failed to capitalize on a power play with six minutes left.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ended the threat with 1:01 left when his centering deflected in off the stick of Flames defenceman TJ Brodie.
“Our resilience right now is really good. Other than tonight, we've been down in every game for the past three and the way we fought back has been a really good sign for us. It's something we did really well last year,” Nugent-Hopkins said.
The Oilers have won six straight against Calgary, outscoring them 31-16. Edmonton pulls within five points of the Flames in the Western Conference standings.
“It's been a good streak right now. We want to keep that rolling,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “Obviously a divisional team and a natural rivalry with the Alberta thing. We take pride in these games and we come out really hard.”
Jujhar Khaira, Mark Letustu and Milan Lucic also scored for Edmonton (11-14-2).
Sam Bennett, with a pair, Mikael Frolik, Micheal Ferland and Gaudreau scored for Calgary (14-11-1).
“Way too many chances against tonight. Way too many,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “We gave up four or five breakaways again to that team. They just feed off transition and turnovers. We hung our goalie out to dry.”
Brossoit made 29 saves for the win in net. Mike Smith kicked out 22-of-27 shots through two periods before giving way to David Rittich, who made four saves on six shots.
Puljujarvi opened the scoring at 10:29. Four minutes later, Eric Gryba’s shot went through the holder of Mark Giordano's skate then changed directions again off Puljujarvi's leg before trickling through Smith's pads to make it 2-0.
“I've never seen it before in this league or any league that I've been in. It goes through the skate blade,” said Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan. “We've got to deal with that better. There are bounces that are going to happen. We have to react to those things better.”
Mikael Backlund set up Frolik for a short-handed goal at 16:21 to make it 2-1, but 1:23 later, Khaira converted Kris Russell's pass to restore the Oilers two-goal cushion.
“We started the game too hesitant,” said Bennett. “We were just dipping our toes in the water and we didn't go after it.”
Rittich’s appearance didn't start well as 1:29 in, a miscommunication behind the net resulted in an easy wrap-around goal for Maroon that made it 6-1.
Earning his first win of the season was Brossoit, who was also making his second straight start with Cam Talbot on injured reserve.
Notes: Oilers coach Todd McLellan won his 400th NHL game. He is the 38th coach to reach that milestone... Former Flame Mike Cammalleri returned to the Oilers lineup after being a healthy scratch on Thursday. That bumped Anton Slepyshev to the press box... Calgary RW Troy Brouwer has gone 32 games without a goal, dating back to March 27... Edmonton entered the game first in the NHL with 749 hits.