EDMONTON – Oliver Kylington will never forget the goal he scored on Saturday night. His second career goal was an opportunity the whole child dreams of, one that stands out as the winner of Flames' 5-2 victory and their first point against the hated Edmonton Oilers.
On the other side, still half dressed in his tent when the media entered the dressing room, another rookie defender was responsible for a goal he would never forget.
Spoiler warning: A young d-man will sleep a little better than the other after this.
"I think it's the difference between an NHL player and an American League player," said Caleb Jones, whose D-to-D pass was taken down by Mikael Backlund and Mikko Koskinen shortly thereafter. which ended the return of the Oilers. "These plays do not happen at that moment in a hockey game. I'll learn from that."
It's such a brutal level of hockey for a young defender. Mistakes are inevitable, it's just the reality of learning the game. But here in the NHL, that cross-ice float is picked up almost every time, and sometimes the guy who enters his goalie with that disc is a world-class player like the Backlund.
It will make you pay. You just know he will.
"I just can not do that," said Jones, a 21-year-old who only plays his 16th game in the NHL. "He made a good move to knock him out, but I can not do that."
Everyone made that mistake, we mentioned Jones.
"Guys make mistakes every night, I'm sure you can find a piece like that in the highlights somewhere. But, it's hard to take now."
Before we go further, with 3-2 in the Oilers, Jones' error may have prevented any return. But make no mistake – Calgary was the best team of the night, the best team of the season, and methodically beat Edmonton at Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday.
Flames' top two players – Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau – had a goal and an assist, while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were both eliminated.
The best Calgary players were better, their goalie was as good or better, and the rest of the team made fewer mistakes. It is the recipe for becoming a first place team.
"We found another way to win, it's great to see the character in this room and everyone likes it and we're finding ways to win," said Backlund who has been a Flame since they made him a choice in the first round in 2007. " We were a much better five-in-five, so the penalties were a little back and forth and we slowed down a little bit. But when we played five against five, I thought we were dominated and a better team. "
We're not going to be arguing with the Backlund about things five against five, even though on a night that 18 minor penalties were made, we're not sure we've seen five in five enough shots to really be able to say.
Referees Garrett Rank and Graham Skilliter officiated this game as two guys scared to death that some excitement could erupt in the Battle of Alberta. They did not affect the outcome but created an atmosphere where players from both teams were afraid to push back, hit a stroke or start any physical contact for fear that another ticky tack penalty would be called.
But again, we disagree.
We ensured that the unsatisfactory work of the referees harmed the level of entertainment of the fans. A winning team has not been decided.
"It was both sides, not just us," agreed Draisaitl, whose effort was very sleepy for a game of this magnitude. "They just beat us and we have to make sure we're better tomorrow."
This is the reality of Edmonton when they come across a power of the West Conference as Calgary has become. The Oilers need a perfect game to win. But of course, if they were proficient at playing perfect games, the Oilers would not be 20 points behind Calgary in the Pacific.
"They played better than we did, so simple. They outnumbered us," said Darnell Nurse. "The guys who play special teams, we have to be better.I'm a big part of that.We'll have to be better in the power game and in the PK and try to generate goals and keep them out when we are in the PK." and we did not do well enough tonight. "
Edmonton lost ground to almost everyone in the wild card race on Saturday, but Carolina is on Sunday night, a chance to recover.
There is no time to hang your head if your names are Caleb Jones or Connor McDavid.