CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Jesse Puljujarvi and Gaetan Haas scored, Mike Smith made 20 saves and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Friday night to open a home-and-home series.
“We’ll take the points any way we can right now,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Probably wasn’t our prettiest win, but sometimes it’s going to go down like that and you’ve just got to grind it out. I thought Smitty and our D-corps was really solid tonight. Not giving them too many good opportunities.
The teams will meet again Saturday night in Edmonton.
Defenseman Rasmus Andersson scored for Calgary, and David Rittich made 23 saves in his third start of the season. The Flames gave Jacob Markstrom the night off after he started seven games in a row and 14 of Calgary’s first 16.
“We’ve got more to give for sure,” Flames coach Geoff Ward said. “It was a step in the right directions, but we can still be better. We’ve got to find a way to generate a little bit more in terms of pushing ourselves forward. At points there was some (emotion). At other points we need to have more desperation still.”
Puljujarvi opened the scoring at 5:41 of the first with his fifth goal of the season — all in his last seven games. Haas made it 2-0 with 2:05 left in the second with his first of the season.
Anderson spoiled Smith’s shutout bid with 1:20 left in the second.