The Edmonton Oilers know they're not going to the playoffs. They'd like their biggest rivals to share their fate.
The Oilers put a dent in Calgary's postseason hopes on Friday night as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice in a 3-1 victory at Rexall Place. Jordan Eberle scored the other goal and assisted on both of the tallies by Nugent-Hopkins as the Oilers won their second in a row.
"It was huge for us to win this game," said Nugent-Hopkins, the first player taken in last June's NHL Draft. "It's as close to a playoff game as we are going to have this year. It was a lot of fun playing in a game like that. There was so much intensity and emotion out there."
Mark Giordano had the lone goal for the Flames (34-26-12), who had their five-game winning streak snapped. Calgary, Los Angeles and San Jose all have 80 points, one behind seventh-place Phoenix and eighth-place Colorado.
The Flames hurt themselves by giving the Oilers six power plays.
"We got on the wrong side of penalty trouble," said Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, whose six-game goal-scoring streak ended. "Our guys played hard. The Oilers had a good first period but I thought we got back into it. We hit a couple of posts and it didn't go our way tonight.
"We've been playing well. This is a little hiccup but we'll get right back at it."
Edmonton limited Calgary to just 19 shots at Devan Dubnyk, and coach Tom Renney was very pleased with the way his team played defensively.
"They had two shots and zero chances in the third period," he said of the Flames. "That's what we have to be all about if we want to be a winning team. If we want to be a playoff team, those are the situations we have to get through successfully. It's a good omen, I hope."
The game got off to a scary start as Oilers star Taylor Hall lost his balance and took a hard shot to the head from Flames defenseman Cory Sarich along the boards in his own zone. Hall looked woozy as he was helped off the ice to the dressing room and did not return.
He has been diagnosed with a concussion and will be evaluated on Saturday.
"I was coming in to lay a clean body check and I don't know if he bailed out at the last minute of just lost his footing," Sarich said. "He was going down before I got to him. It's part of my job to be physical. I try to throw body checks and I try to keep them clean."
Renney said he didn't feel it was a dirty play.
"He was coming down to make contact, he wasn't coming to pat him on the back," he said. "He was coming down to cream him. He did, but Taylor also slipped. That made it much worse than it could have been.
"It was a clean hit."
Calgary's Alex Tanguay slid the puck past Dubnyk five minutes into the game, only to have it slide along the goal line, hit the post and stay out. That became a big play when the Oilers grabbed the lead at 10:12 when Nugent-Hopkins beat Calgary goalie Leland Irving for his 17th goal of the season.
Edmonton made it 2-0 at 15:18 when Eberle came out from the boards and put a rocket into the top corner for his 31st of the season.
Tanguay rang the post on a breakaway eight minutes into the second period, but the Flames got on the board at 12:24 when Giordano's nothing-special shot from the left point hit the shaft of Edmonton defenseman Tomas Smid's stick and sailed past Dubnyk.
But Nugent-Hopkins restored the Oilers' two-goal lead 9:25 into the third when Nugent-Hopkins fired the rebound of Ryan Jones' shot into a wide-open net.
Both teams are back in action on Sunday when the Oilers host Phoenix and the Flames return home to play Columbus.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report