Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, centre, celebrates scoring the winning goal with teammate Andrew Ference, as Edmonton Oilers Jarrett Stoll, left, skates away. (CP/Jeff McIntosh)
Phaneuf's power-play goal from the slot proved to be the winner as the Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in a battle of Alberta's provincial rivals.
"It was definitely a bit of a different look but you have to go where you're asked to go," said Phaneuf, who scored his 10th goal of the season, his ninth on the power play. "We had to change it up a little bit and luckily it worked."
Phaneuf credited Kristian Huselius for feathering him a nifty pass through traffic.
"He made a great play, he froze everyone, slid it through," Phaneuf said. "That's why he's one of the most skilled guys in the league when he gets the puck and he's got some of the best patience in the league. He makes great plays so when he's got the puck, you have to be ready and expect to get it."
Edmonton forward Jarret Stoll was disappointed the Oilers couldn't kill off the penalty and stay in the game.
"We've got to kill that off," Stoll said. "That's a kill that makes you win hockey games and we didn't get it. That's the ball game right there. They had us hemmed into our own zone there for a while. We just couldn't get out and we kind of get mixed up in front and they find that open guy." Jeff Friesen and Matthew Lombardi also scored for the Flames (24-15-4), who went 2-for-4 on the power play. The Flames have now won five straight games and remain in first place in the Northwest Division.
"It's big for us," Lombardi said. "We're working real good as a group right now. We're coming out with a lot of pressure in the first period and the team's doing the little things that we need to do to win."
Shawn Horcoff scored the lone goal for the Oilers (21-20-4), who have lost two straight games. "It's disappointing," said Edmonton forward Ryan Smyth. "It's frustrating, but it's not for lack of effort."
After a scoreless opening frame, Horcoff scored at 5:03 of the second period with the Oilers on a man advantage. Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff made the initial save off a shot by Ales Hemsky before Horcoff picked up the rebound and swept it in, putting Edmonton up 1-0.
The Flames responded with a power-play goal of their own at 8:37 of the second when Friesen skated out from the corner and roofed a perfect top-corner shot over Roloson s glove. It was Friesen's first goal as a Flame and first in 51 regular season games since he scored as a member of the Anaheim Ducks on March 12, 2006.
"I've never thought about scoring a goal so much," Friesen said. "It's not fun to go through."
Kiprusoff predicted that Friesen will now play with more confidence.
"He's a guy who's working so hard," Kiprusoff said. "He had a lot of points in this league for many years so it's nice to see that. He's probably going to score next game again."
Seven minutes into the third period, Stoll one-timed a perfect pass from linemate Raffi Torres on the Calgary net forcing Kiprusoff to make a nice save to keep the contest tied at 1-1.
"I had a chance there from Raffi to go ahead there and I didn't bear down and put it in the back of the net," Stoll said.
Kiprusoff finished the game with 21 saves to improve his record to 22-14-3, while Roloson made 18 saves as his record fell to 18-17-4.
Notes: Calgary captain Jarome Iginla missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury he suffered in Calgary s 5-4 overtime win over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 4. ... In his first five games since returning from a fractured right thumb, Ryan Smyth scored five goals and added five assists. Since then, he s had just two assists in five games. ... Daymond Langkow s four-game scoring streak ended. The Calgary forward has six goals and six assists in his last nine games.