EDMONTON -- Rookie Jordan Eberle had a magnificent goal and added an assist in his NHL debut as the Edmonton Oilers got the regular season off to a good start, defeating the rival Calgary Flames 4-0 on Thursday night.
Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 37 shots for the shutout in his first regular season start since going down with an injury last November.
Gilbert Brule, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers, who lost all six encounters to the Flames last season en route to a 30th place finish.
It looked like Edmonton had the first goal six and a half minutes in as Hemsky sent Dustin Penner in alone and he crashed the net while deking Calgary starter Miikka Kiprusoff, but the goal was called back due to a goaltender interference call that had the fans at Rexall Place fuming.
The Oilers did go up 1-0 on the power play nine minutes in as Brule snapped a shot from the face-off dot past Kiprusoff. Defenceman Ryan Whitney earned his 200th career NHL point on the play.
Edmonton had a host of great chances in the opening period, out-shooting Calgary 19-9.
The momentum turned completely in the Flame's favour in the second as they outshot the Oilers 18-7, but Khabibulin stood his ground to keep it a 1-0 game after 40 minutes.
The Oilers took a 2-0 lead a minute into the third as Eberle scored a highlight-reel goal in his first NHL game. Coming in on a shorthanded two-on-one and hopping past a diving defender, Eberle put a beautiful backhander past Kiprusoff.
Edmonton took a three-goal lead less than two minutes later as Hemsky came down the right side and wired a slapshot that went off of the Flames goalie and in.
The Oilers went up 4-0 on Horcoff's power-play goal just over five minutes into the third period.
With just over two minutes to play heavyweights Steve MacIntyre for the Oilers and Flame Raitis Ivanans went at it with MacIntyre landing a punch that seemed to knock his opponent out. Ivanans had to be helped off of the ice.
Both teams are off until Sunday when Calgary returns home to play the L.A. Kings and the Oilers host Florida.
Notes: Calgary won all six regular season meetings against the Oilers last year, outscoring the Oilers 24-11. . . It's been nine years since the Flames had a losing record against Edmonton, dating back to the 2000-01 season. . . Shawn Horcoff made his debut as the 13th captain in the history of the Oilers after being named to the position on Tuesday. Hemsky and Ryan Whitney were named the alternate captains. . . It was the NHL debut for all three of Edmonton's highly-touted rookies, Taylor Hall, Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. . . Flames Olli Jokinen and Adam Pardy were able to return from training camp injuries. Calgary remained a banged-up squad entering the regular season with forwards Daymond Langkow (neck), Matt Stajan (shoulder), David Moss (shoulder) and Ales Kotalik (knee) all out. . . Brendan Morrision, signed as a free agent earlier in the week as injury relief, made his Flames debut.