CALGARY — Tobias Rieder thought he was in the way, but it turned out that he was in the right place at the right time.
Rieder redirected defenceman TJ Brodie’s shot past goalie Mikko Koskinen for his second goal of the game at 14:21 of the third period to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers in the final pre-season game for both clubs on Saturday.
"There was no time to move," said Rieder, who’s making a bid to crack Calgary’s lineup after finishing with no goals and 11 assists in 67 games with the Oilers last season. "I was just trying to get out of the way because he had a clean shot there, but it just somehow hit my stick and went in. I’m not complaining.
"Everybody says that’s where you get rewarded when you go in front of the net. The puck just hit me and went in. Sometimes you’ve got to get those goals, too."
Milan Lucic, who the Flames acquired in July in a deal that saw fellow veteran forward James Neal go the other way to the Oilers, also scored for Calgary.
"It was just nice to get that first one out of the way (against) the team that you played for last year and now you can move on," said Lucic, who had just six goals and 14 assists in 79 games with the Oilers last season.
"It’s a good feeling to find the back of the net there to get that feeling before the regular season starts here. We’ve got to do what we can to carry it over and build off that feeling."
David Rittich stopped 26-of-28 shots he faced in the Calgary net to pick up the win.
Gaetan Haas and Zack Kassian scored for the Oilers, while goalie Mikko Koskinen made 19 saves.
Just two minutes into the game, Rittich made a pad save to stop a shot off the stick of Tomas Jurco before also turning aside a point-blank attempt by Markus Granlund about 60 seconds later.
"Their goaltender made a couple really good saves for them early," said Edmonton coach Dave Tippett, who commended his players for battling back from a 2-0 deficit to tie things up with two goals in the third.
"The third period, we were able to come through and get a couple goals, but like we’ve seen a couple times in the pre-season here a critical mistake has hurt us."
Although the Flames outshot the Oilers 9-3 in the opening period, they weren’t able to get any pucks past Koskinen. Mikael Backlund had the best chance during a power play for the Flames, but Koskinen made a nice stick save to stop the Calgary forward’s slapshot.
Rittich was sharp once again early in the second period when he slid across his crease to stop Leon Draisaitl’s slapshot during a man advantage for the Oilers.
Rieder opened the scoring for the Flames at 6:26 of the second period when he took a pass from linemate Mark Jankowski before snapping a shot past Koskinen to the glove side.
Koskinen then stopped a backhand shot by Sean Monahan before Rittich stuck out his right pad to thwart a breakaway attempt by Kassian.
Lucic shovelled a rebound past Koskinen for a power-play goal at 9:12 of the second to put the Flames up 2-0.
The Oilers scored a power-play goal of their own at 10:46 of the third period when Haas redirected a pass from Joakim Nygard past Rittich.
Just 31 seconds later, Kassian got in behind the Calgary defence and tipped another pass from Nygard past Rittich.
"We created some passes and our line scored two goals, but tough loss," Nygard said. "We talked about it after the first period, we have to take the shots and take it from there. We did it a little bit better in the third, but we have to shoot more."
Following Rieder’s second goal against his former team, the Flames hung on for the win despite being outshot 16-3 by the Oilers in the third period.
The Oilers will start the regular season with a home game against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, while the Flames begin the 2019-20 campaign Thursday in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.