EDMONTON _ It didn’t take long for Mason Raymond to make an impact with the Calgary Flames.
Raymond recorded his third career hat trick as Calgary spoiled the home opener of their provincial rivals, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Thursday.
The Flames signed the 29-year-old Cochrane, Alta., native to a three-year deal this year in hopes he could help replace some of the offence taken out of the lineup by Michael Cammalleri’s free-agent departure.
Raymond said that while he appreciated the personal accomplishment, he felt it was more important to get the victory with the team starting a six-game road trip in Edmonton.
“Those two points were huge for us,’’ he said. “It got us in the win column and trending in the right direction. We let them back into it after a good start, but we battled back hard and that showed some character.’’
Flames forward Mikael Backlund said Raymond’s performance was a good sign, especially considering the new Flame was limited to just a pair of pre-season games because of a lower-body injury.
“It is great for him, great to see him get those goals,’’ he said. “Just like me, he missed most of camp, so it is nice to see him get a confidence boost.’’
Jiri Hudler and T.J. Brodie also scored for the Flames, who avoided losses on consecutive nights to improve to 1-1.
Karri Ramo made 38 saves to record the win in the Calgary net.
“I was lucky a few times,’’ Ramo said. “It was a real battle for us. We figured it out at the end and we kept on battling and working harder than them. That is how it is going to have to be the whole year. We have to be the harder working team.’’
Teddy Purcell and Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers, who are 0-1.
“That’s a frustrating way to start the season,’’ said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought we had a ton of good in our game. … Our power play was excellent. I’m not going to walk out here and say we played crappy, because we didn’t. But we lost the game and that’s unacceptable.’’
Hall said it is important that the team recognize how they did dominate the game for most of the first and second periods.
“We feel like we came with the right game plan and for the most part executed. That (slow start) happens,’’ he said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of recovering and sticking to our game plan throughout the game. We definitely gave up some Grade A chances, that’s for sure, but hope to shore those up and keep doing the things we did well.’’
Calgary silenced the home crowd early with a goal three minutes into the game when Joe Colborne made a nice feed to Mark Giordano in the slot. Giordano’s shot was tipped by Raymond past Edmonton starter Ben Scrivens. It was Raymond’s 100th career NHL goal.
Exactly a minute later, the Flames went up 2-0 as Sean Monahan got the puck on a defensive miscue behind the Edmonton net and passed in front to Hudler, who scored on Calgary’s third shot of the game.
Edmonton got back into the game with seven minutes left in the first period with a power-play goal. David Perron made a long pass to Purcell at the opposite face-off dot and he blasted a shot past Ramo.
The Oilers outshot Calgary 14-7 through the first 20 minutes.
Edmonton tied the game with eight-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second period as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins criss-crossed with Hall on a two-man advantage and Hall unleashed a rocket into the top corner to make it 2-2.
The shots favoured Edmonton 25-11 at the end of the second period.
Calgary managed to regain the lead four-and-a-half minutes into the third period as Lance Bouma made a nice chip pass to send Raymond away on a partial breakaway. Raymond beat Scrivens high to the glove side for his second of the game.
The Flames put the game away with five minutes remaining as Hudler saw Raymond charging hard to the net and sent it in front for a tip-in to complete the hat trick.
Brodie made it 5-2 on a scramble in front of the Edmonton net in the final minute on a Calgary power play.
Both teams return to action on Saturday as the Oilers begin a three-game trip in Vancouver against the Canucks while the Flames play the second game of their six-destination road swing in St. Louis.