Flames burn Oilers in first meeting of Battle of Alberta
CALGARY — In his career, Lee Stempniak has always been a streaky scorer. This year, so far, so good.
Stempniak scored his third goal of the season and added two assists Saturday night to lead the Calgary Flames to their first win of the season, a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
“I’ve been trying to be more consistent,” said Stempniak, who scored 14 goals last season, his first with the Flames.
Stempniak had a career-high 28 goals three years ago, 14 of the goals coming in 18 games after he was acquired by the Phoenix Coyotes.
“You take it while you can and today I got a great pass from (Jay) Bouwmeester and it was pretty easy to put that one in,” Stempniak said.
His power-play goal at 14:57 of the second period, restoring a two-goal cushion for the Flames at 4-2, would turn out to be the winning goal as the Oilers got a goal from Sam Gagner with two seconds left in the game.
“We knew Calgary was going to bring their ’A’ game today and they truly did play hard and strong through the game and didn’t give us much but at the same time, we’re not pleased with some of the execution,” said Oilers coach Ralph Krueger.
Mikael Backlund and Curtis Glencross, with his third goal, also scored for Calgary (1-2-1), who lost back-to-back games at home last weekend to open the season.
Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle also scored for Edmonton (2-2-0), which was outshot 35-20.
On the decisive goal, Bouwmeester pinched in from the blue-line, made a slick move to fool Ladislav Smid, then zipped a hard pass across the top of the crease that was neatly deflected in by Stempniak.
“Bouwmeester was flying tonight,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley, celebrating his first win. “We saw the real Jay Bouwmeester, a guy that took charge, wanted the puck, made a great play on Lee Stempniaks’ goal.”
Often the object of fan disdain since signing a lucrative free agent contract with the Flames three years ago, Bouwmeester looked energized all night, constantly jumping up into the rush.
“That’s the kind of hockey that Jay Bouwmeeester can bring to us and he has the green light,” Hartley said.