Gaudreau lone scorer as Flames blank Oilers to keep pace in wild card race

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Mike Smith made 28 saves and Johnny Gaudreau had the winner as the Calgary Flames edged the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 on Tuesday night, ending a seven-game losing streak against their provincial rival.

It was a superb bounce-back performance for Smith in his second game after missing a month with a lower-body injury. Smith was beaten four times on 26 shots in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

Calgary (35-26-10) remains within two points of both Dallas and Colorado, who occupy the two wild card spots in the Western Conference.

The Flames opened the night three points back of Los Angeles for third in the Pacific Division.

Cam Talbot made 31 saves as Edmonton (30-35-4) had its three-game win streak snapped.

Oilers can’t solve Smith

The most dangerous Oiler all night was Connor McDavid, who entered the night on a seven-game point streak (six goals, seven assists) and with 18 goals in his last 19 games. But despite a team-high five shots and several other set-ups, McDavid could not solve Smith.

Early in the third, Smith acrobatically kicked out his pad to rob Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ one-timer after he was set -up perfectly by McDavid. That same shift, McDavid swooped in alone on Smith, only to be denied by the 35-year-old.

Smith also made a highlight reel stop late in the second to preserve the one-goal margin, getting his arm on a shot from Ryan Strome after a bad bounce resulted in the Oilers centre having the puck alone in front.

Scoreless after the opening 20 minutes, Calgary took the lead at 5:18 of the second period when Sean Monahan’s pass found Gaudreau alone in front and he zipped a backhander over Talbot’s shoulder.

Gaudreau’s 22nd goal of the season extends his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists).

Edmonton thought they had taken a 1-0 lead at 14:05 of the first when Zack Kassian banged a puck that was partially covered under Smith, but the goal was waved immediately as the whistle had gone.

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