THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY — Lee 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.
Stempniak’s power-play goal at 14:57 of the second period, restoring a two-goal cushion for the Flames at 4-2, was set up on a beautiful effort by Jay Bouwmeester.
The Flames defenceman 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.
That goal would turn out to be the winning goal as the Oilers, with goaltender Devan Dubnyk pulled for an extra skater, got a goal from Sam Gagner with two seconds left.
Bouwmeester, often the object of fan disdain since signing a lucrative free agent contract with Calgary three years ago, also had a big night scoring his first goal of the season.
Mikael Backlund and Curtis Glencross, with his third goal, also scored for Calgary (1-2-1). New Czech acquisitions Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka both played well in their debut on a line centred by Matt Stajan with Hudler picking up an assist.
The Flames got off to a bad start to the season with back-to-back home losses last weekend before picking up a point in a shootout loss in Vancouver on Wednesday.
Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle also scored for Edmonton (2-2-0), which was outshot 35-20.
The Flames are off until Thursday night when they continue their three-game homestand against the Colorado Avalanche.
Before coming to Calgary, Colorado stops off in Edmonton as the Oilers next opponent on Monday night.
There was a strong turnout of Oilers supporters at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the provincial rivals’ first meeting of the season, and Edmonton faithful got the crowd fired up halfway through the first period by chanting "Let’s go Oilers."
Despite having won two of its first three games, the Oilers entered the night not having led yet in a game and that trend continued as goals by Backlund and Bouwmeester gave Calgary a 2-0 first period lead.
Backlund’s goal at 5:16 came when he banged a loose puck under goalie Devan Dubnyk from the top of the crease after Mike Cammalleri got it there by neatly weaving his way through the slot.
Bouwmeester made it 2-0 at 14:25, ripping a wrist shot past Dubnyk from the blue-line with Jarome Iginla providing a screen.
The Oilers cut the gap to one after taking just five seconds to convert a power play in the final minute of the first period.
With Glencross off for goaltender interference, Edmonton won the faceoff back to the blue-line where Eberle slid the puck across to Schultz and the impressive Oilers rookie wristed a shot past Miikka Kiprusoff at 19:19.
Calgary restored its two-goal lead four minutes into the second period when Iginla’s centring pass was tapped in by Glencross who was wide open on the far side of the net.
A beautiful individual effort from Eberle got the Oilers back to within one again with Edmonton’s second power-play goal of the night. Breaking off the sideboards, Eberle looked off Bouwmeester, then neatly dodged the stick check of Stajan before wiring a shot into the top corner.
Notes: Calgary has won 10 of the last 12 games between the two teams a Since Taylor Hall was born 21 years ago, Calgary and Edmonton have made the playoffs in the same season only once (2005-06) a With the debut of Hudler and Cervenka, the Flames had two Czechs in their lineup for the first time since Jan. 29, 2003 (Petr Buzek and Roman Turek) a The two teams don’t meet again until Apr. 1. They’ll meet three times in the season’s final month a After this four-day layoff, Calgary’s has no more than two days off between games the rest of the season.