Mike Smith wins goalie duel as Calgary Flames edge Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid (97) pressures Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith (41) during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Mike Smith made 28 saves to lead the Calgary Flames past the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 Tuesday night.

The Oilers had won the previous seven meetings in the Battle of Alberta. It’s the eighth time they’ve been shut out this season.

Head coach Todd McLellan was happy with the overall effort, even as the Oilers three-game winning streak came to an end.

“The game itself was a very evenly played game, I thought it was a good game. Both teams checked and defended well, there wasn’t much that was given up. Both ends, both goaltenders made some tremendous saves,” McLellan said after the game. “We had some real good looks and Smith made some saves, but so did they early in the game and on the power play and Cam [Talbot] made saves. It’s unfortunate we’re on the short end of the stick.
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LISTEN: Todd McLellan on 630 CHED

The first period was scoreless though both teams had chances. Smith made a pad save on Jesse Puljujarvi. Just seconds later, Mikael Backlund hit the post at the other end. Zack Kassian jammed the puck under Smith’s pad and into the net with 5:55 to go in the period, but the referee had already blown the whistle.

READ MORE: Connor McDavid scores twice as Edmonton Oilers knock off Minnesota Wild

Johnny Gaudreau opened the scoring 5:18 into the second period, lifting a backhand right under the crossbar. The Oilers applied more pressure as the period went on but Smith made several excellent saves.

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“He’s a big guy, so he takes up a lot of the net. And he’s pretty athletic,” forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said about Smith. “So when you have a guy like that who’s athletic and big, it’s tough to beat them when they’re on.

LISTEN: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on 630 CHED

Smith kept it up in the third. Early, he got his blocker on a one-time shot from Nugent-Hopkins. On the same shift, he denied Connor McDavid who cut in behind the defence and tried to beat Smith five-hole. Dougie Hamilton was called for interference on McDavid with 1:53 left. The Oilers pulled Cam Talbot with 90 seconds left for a six-on-four skater advantage, but they couldn’t find the tying goal.

Talbot, who also made several good stops, took the loss with 31 saves.

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The Oilers’ fall to 30-35-4 on the season. They’ll host San Jose Wednesday night.

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