Game Preview #1 - Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames

Game Preview #1 - Penguins vs Flames

This is the only meeting of the season for the two teams. A tough home opener for the Flames. Mikael Backlund is off on injury and so is Sidney Crosby which is good news for Calgary on the Crosby front.

The Flames are still haunted by their terrible start last year and the ability to come out of the gate strong is something to watch for. The Penguins are clearly the favorite and the Flames have traditionally not done well on opening night. Losing six of their last seven season openers.

This isn't one to bet the farm on the Flames winning but it is also one where a quick win to start the season will immediately put the wind in the sails of those who see the Flames as playoff contenders.

The Flames need to pocket points at least a few times against some of the elite teams in the NHL. The sooner they get some in the bank the better. 

Anticipated Game Style

Fast offensive game. Calgary's new D is going to be put to the test here against one of the best offensive teams in the League. Any hope at all for the Flames in this one is going to be pinned on the ability of the Joker to shut down Malkin at EVS and for the Flames to stay out of the box.

One on One

Malkin vs Jokinen

That should pretty much say it all and that looks grim. Jokinen is no longer transitioning to the two-way Centre role this year. It is his job now and he will be heavily tested by the uber-elite Malkin. The only good news on this front is that Jokinen, unlike Iginla and Kipper, is not known to be a slow starter. He may be ready to take on this challenge right away.

The Magic 8-Ball 

The Flames are huge underdogs in this game from several perspectives. As mentioned previously, Jarome and Kipper are known to start slow each season and the Penguins are not a team your best players can mail it in on and you can expect to win. 

The Flames have only won one home opener in the last 7 years. A depleted D with two new additions in Hannan and Butler and the fact that a stronger Flames D still lost 4-1 last time the two teams met all add up to the Magic 8-ball calling the Penguins for the win. 

If the Flames can win this one or at least take a single point it would be the first breath of air into the sails of a team that needs some serious wind to sail into the playoffs this year. 

Anticipated Rosters (subject to change by game time)

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

Steve Sullivan

Evgeni Malkin

James Neal

Chris Kunitz

Jordan Staal

Tyler Kennedy

Matt Cooke

Mark Letestu

Pascal Dupuis

Craig Adams

Joe Vitale

Arron Asham

Defence

Kris Letang

Deryk Engelland

Paul Martin

Zbynek Michalek

Matt Niskanen

Ben Lovejoy

Starting Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Brent Johnson

 

Calgary Flames

Forwards

Alex Tanguay

David Moss

Jarome Iginla

Curtis Glencross

Olli Jokinen

Lee Stempniak

Niklas Hagman

Roman Horak

Rene Bourque

Tom Kostopoulos

Matt Stajan

Tim Jackman

Defence

Mark Giordano

Scott Hannan

Chris Butler

Jay Bouwmeester

Anton Babchuk

Cory Sarich

Starting Goaltender

Miikka Kiprusoff

Henrik Karlsson

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