Not many were as ugly, yet pretty at the same time, as his first
tally in Friday's 2-0 victory for the Oilers over the Flames in the
latest installment of the Battle of Alberta.
Smyth suited up against the Flames for the 87th time in his 18-year
NHL career and notched the winning tally of the night with the kind
of greasy goal he is known for during his career, albeit with a
Late in the first period, Smyth headed to the front of net in
anticipation of a pass from right winger Ales Hemsky, and the puck
came his way as expected. However, the pass hit him in the chest and
ricocheted past Flames goaltender Reto Berra.
"Right in the heart," said Smyth, a heart-and-soul player.
"Sometimes you've got to go to the net, the hard areas. I'll take
"I just came from behind the net and you never know what will
happen. I got the break and it went off the chest and in. Sometimes
you've got to pay a price to go the front of the net, and you get
Smyth added an empty netter to his fluky tally, which was deemed a
good goal after a lengthy review, while Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk
made 27 saves to record his second shutout of the season.
Although Dubnyk will receive the accolades, it was truly a team
shutout. The Flames generated only a handful of legitimate scoring
chances before the announced Scotiabank Saddledome sellout crowd of
"I think we kept a lot of stuff to the outside and Devan was called
upon a couple of times to make some big saves," Oilers coach Dallas
Eakins said. "I think that was a real good team (one) but any time
your goalie pitches a shutout, he's had a good, good night."
Moments before Smyth's game-winning tally was netted, though, the
Flames figured they had opened the scoring when defenseman Mark
Giordano lit the lamp, but the goal was waived off by the officials,
who ruled center Joe Colborne had interfered with the Oilers
"I've got to be careful with what I say — I'm a rookie, so I don't
want to get into it too much — but that's a tough one," Colborne said
of the ruling. "I thought Gio made a good play faking the shot, and
that's what caused Dubnyk to go down and have to move, not me, but
it's something we're going to have to look at on video."
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Still, the Flames weren't about to blame their fate on the
"The bottom line is we didn't play a very good game," Flames
coach Bob Hartley said. "I don't think we gave ourselves a
chance to win. I didn't think we had our usual jump, whether
it's the (three-day Christmas) break or whatever reason, it was
the same for the Oilers. They got that first goal and we tried
to make a push, but I don't think we were at our best tonight,
so we didn't really deserve to win.
"Sometimes games don't go your way. We didn't get the breaks,
but at the same time I didn't think we were as good as previous
games. Our forechecking game was pretty soft. Our net presence
was basically non-existent. We can be better than this and we
will. It's just a bad game."
Berra came up with 26 saves in a losing performance for Calgary.
The Oilers, who have won two straight, improve to 13-24-3, while
the Flames fall to 14-18-6.
NOTES: Despite leaving the ice in obvious pain during overtime
the previous game after suffering a knee-on-knee hit from C
David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Flames C Matt Stajan suited
up for the game. Stajan said he didn't believe Backes was being
malicious. "It was a bang-bang play, he's trying to hit me and
I'm trying to dodge the hit. It happens a lot. He sent me a text
after to see if I was OK, which was nice of him. I never thought
there was any intent, just frustrated at the time with the way
it went down and the heat of the moment," Stajan said ... Oilers
captain D Andrew Ference, who spent a few seasons with the
Flames, suited up for the 800th regular-season game of his NHL
career ... The Oilers summoned D Martin Marincin and C Roman
Horak from the AHL Oklahoma City Barons, but neither suited up.
The moves were necessitated by putting LW Ryan Jones
(concussion) and D Philip Larsen (illness) on the injured list,
along with C Mark Arcobello (ribs) ... The Flames are currently
only carrying 12 healthy forwards on their active roster, with
LW Curtis Glencross (ankle) and C Blair Jones (knee) on the
shelf, along with D Dennis Wideman (hand) and D Kris Russell
(knee). Only Wideman is expected to possibly return within the
next couple of weeks.
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