Bouchard scores tiebreaking goal in third period as Oilers beat Flames 4-2

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CALGARY, Alberta — Evan Bouchard scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Saturday night.

Leon Draisaitl, Connor Brown and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for Edmonton, which is 5-1-1 in its last seven games. Calvin Pickard stopped 33 shots to improve to 12-6-0.

“We played well in the third period and our power play came up with a huge goal at the end,” said Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch. “(Pickard) was outstanding. I thought he made huge saves, especially late in the game with the goalie pulled, game on the line, he came up big.”

Draisaitl reached 40 goals for the third straight season and fifth time in his career. That puts him third behind Wayne Gretzky (nine) and Jari Kurri (seven).

The Oilers climbed within three points of Vancouver for first place in the Pacific Division. They have a game in hand on the Canucks, who lost 6-3 at Los Angeles.

Yegor Sharangovich and Nazem Kadri scored for Calgary, which has lost eight of its last nine. Andrei Kuzmenko had two assists to extend his point streak to five games (four goals, five assists). Jacob Markstrom had 23 saves.

“We battled hard, I thought we deserved better tonight,” said Flames left winger Jonathan Huberdeau. “It just shows that they have a good power play and they took advantage of that and we came up short. But I thought we were the better team tonight.”

Calgary tied it the score 2-2 at 7:13 of the third with its second power-play goal. Kuzmenko sent a pass to Sharangovich, who fired a shot that was deflected in by Kadri.

However, Edmonton got its second power-play goal less than 3 1/2 minutes to regain the lead for good. Bouchard took a pass from Nugent-Hopkins and notched his 17th goal on a blast from the blue line with 9:24 remaining.

Connor McDavid also had an assist, giving him two on the night and a career-high 99 on the season. It’s the most assists in an NHL season since Gretzky had 122 in 1990-91. McDavid is on the cusp of becoming just the fourth player to have 100 assists in a season. He’d join Gretzky (11 times), Mario Lemieux (one) and Bobby Orr (one).

Nugent-Hopkins sealed it with an empty-netter with 43 seconds remaining.

Draisaitl opened the scoring on a power play with 16 seconds left in the first period as he fired a one-time off a pass from Nugent-Hopkins under the crossbar.

Edmonton doubled its advantage 3:13 into the second. After failing to generate a shot on goal on a 2-on-1, the puck popped out to Brown who was trailing the play and fired in his fourth. Brown, who didn’t score in his first 54 games, has four goals in his last 11.

Just 44 seconds later and the Flames on a power play, Sharangovich took a pass from Kuzmenko and leaned into a slap shot, picking the top corner for his 30th of the season.

“It’s a little bit of a tough loss. We could win this game. We had an opportunity to score more goals,” said Sharangovich.

Sharangovich, acquired from New Jersey in the offseason, is the sixth player to score 30 goals in his first year with the Flames. He joins Kent Nilsson (40 in 1979-80), Mike Cammalleri (39 in 2008-09), Lanny McDonald (34 in 1981-82), Bob MacMillan (31 in 1977-78) and Hakan Loob (30 in 1983-84).

UP NEXT

Oilers: Host Vegas on Wednesday night to open a four-game homestand.

Flames: At San Jose on Tuesday night to open a three-game trip.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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