Oilers and Flames split preseason opening games

The Edmonton Oilers may already be wishing they had re-upped Justin Schultz for more than just a one-year bridge deal. Schultz had a goal and an assist and was named the game’s first star as the Oilers started the pre-season schedule with a 3-1 split-squad victory at home over the rival Calgary Flames on Sunday night.

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers may already be wishing they had re-upped Justin Schultz for more than just a one-year bridge deal.

Schultz had a goal and an assist and was named the game’s first star as the Oilers started the pre-season schedule with a 3-1 split-squad victory at home over the rival Calgary Flames on Sunday night.

“I felt really good tonight. I wanted to play my game, which is jumping up in the rush, which I thought I did quite well,’’ said the third-year Oilers defenceman. “The legs were there, it was a good win tonight.

“It was nice to obviously play a real game. It’s going to prepare us for the season and I thought it was a good effort from everyone.’’

Marco Roy and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers, while highly-touted 2014 third overall draft pick Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist in his debut.

“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning,’’ Draisaitl said. “I think that’s a little bit normal. I think I did OK, it’s still early in the season and I think once I feel more comfortable, I’ll be better. Now it’s against NHL players and that’s why they’re in that league, so it’s definitely a big difference.’’

Curtis Glencross responded with the lone goal for Calgary.

“We have to be satisfied,” said Flames associate coach Jacques Cloutier. “We had some good moments. The guys got a bit deflated after they scored their second goal. But I really liked how the guys kept going in the third period. Our forecheck was very good. Obviously we need to throw more pucks at the net. That is something we need to work on.’’

The rest of the rosters for both teams played a game in Calgary — where T.J. Brodie scored the only goal in the Flames’ 1-0 win — at the same time.

In Edmonton, Draisaitl made an immediate impact in the game. Just 1:28 into the first period, Draisaitl made a nice cross-ice feed to a hard-charging Roy who sent the puck past Flames goalie Joni Ortio.

The Flames tied the game up five minutes into the first on a power play as a Kris Russell point shot was deflected in the slot by Glencross, catching Edmonton starter Ben Scrivens off guard.

The Oilers went up 2-1 midway through the first as Schultz carried the puck into the zone with speed and then banked a shot from behind the goal off of a Calgary defender and into the net.

Edmonton took a two-goal lead with a power-play goal six and a half minutes into the second period as Nugent-Hopkins moved in from the point and took a shot from just past the top of the face-off circle, utilizing a Greg Chase screen to beat Ortio stick-side.

Ortio remained in net for the start of the third, while Edmonton switched out Scrivens for Richard Bachman.

“It was good to get the whole game in,’’ Ortio said. “It felt good to kind to get my rhythm back. Even though I played that one game in Penticton (at the Young Stars rookie tournament) it is still early on in the year. I started feeling better out there as the game kept going along.’’

In the game at Calgary, T.J. Brodie scored the only goal as the Flames got a 1-0 split-squad victory over the Oilers.

The goal came 2:06 into the second period on a power play. Set up nicely on a cross-ice pass from Max Reinhart, the Flames 24-year-old defenceman leaned into a slapshot and fired a laser into the top corner over Viktor Fasth’s blocker.

It was the 16th shot on Fasth, who at that point in the game had been the far busier of the two goalies.

Free agent signing Jonas Hiller got the start for Calgary and spent a majority of his time watching the action take place 180 feet away. Hiller was only tested twice in the first 35 minutes of the game before turning aside six shots in the final five minutes of the second period. He was replaced to start the third by Brad Thiessen, who was perfect on eight shots to share the shutout.

With 19 stops through 40 minutes, Fasth gave way to former Flames draft pick Laurent Brossoit in the third period. Brossoit stopped all eight shots he faced.

One of the Oilers best chances to tie the game didn’t end up in a shot on goal. Nail Yakupov broke in on a two-on-one with Teddy Purcell but had his pass across broken up by veteran blue-liner Sheldon Brookbank, who is at Calgary’s camp on a try-out.

Calgary nearly took a 2-0 lead late in the game but Corban Knight’s shot, after video review, was ruled to have gone off the crossbar.

Only down one, Edmonton pulled the goalie for an extra attacker but could not pull even.

The game was one of two split-squad games on the night with two teams meeting in Edmonton also. In Calgary, the Flames deployed a more star-laden line-up led by its top defence pairing of Mark Giordano and Brodie, although they had different partners on this night.

Up front, sophomore Sean Monahan centred Calgary’s No. 1 line with Jiri Hudler, Calgary’s leading scorer last season, and newcomer Mason Raymond.

Monahan led both teams in shots with five and had another dangerous shot from close-in just roll off his stick.

The game also marked the long-awaited home-ice debut of 2013-14 Hobey Baker Award winner Johnny Gaudreau. The talented 5-foot-9 Flames left winger played on a line with Joe Colborne and Devin Setoguchi.

The trio generated a few chances but Gaudreau, 21, did not dominate with the puck the way he was able to last weekend at the Flames rookie tournament.

The Flames are next in action Wednesday night when they play the Arizona Coyotes in the Kraft Hockeyville game in Sylvan Lake. Edmonton’s next game is also Wednesday when they travel to Winnipeg to take on the Jets.

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