Hey guys, this is my first stab at a recap and my first post with Matchsticks so I hope you guys enjoy this.
After a wholesome overtime victory in Sylvan Lake for Kraft Hockeyville over the
Phoenix Relocated Winnipeg Arizona Coyotes last night, the Flames now well versed in truculence from the afternoon clinic on fighting and self-defense took on the Vancouver Canucks at the Saddledome. Was it coincidental that Bob Hartley scheduled it today? Probably not, but it was a headline driver this afternoon for many reasons. I'm not going to get into it here but I think we know what many fans thought of the clinic.
As mentioned earlier in the pre-game, Baertschi, Diaz, and Ferland would be the only players playing tonight from last night's game. Although it would be very clear they had no fatigue.
The Flames elected to let young Sam Bennett take the opening draw in his first pro-game with the franchise. Unfortunately he lost the draw, however the Flames took full advantage of their youth and energy driving possession and forcing the Canucks into their own zone quickly.
The line of Sven Baertschi, Sean Monahan, and recent free-agent signing Devin Setoguchi; a line we may see in the regular season took charge in the Canucks zone generating opportunities. David Jones and Matt Stajan within a matter of a few minutes generated some dazzling scoring chances that Eddie Lack was able to handle with ease.
Nicklas Jensen, vying for a roster spot on the Canucks had a great attempt on Hiller which Hiller fought quickly. The Flames countered with Monahan calming things down in their end leading to Baertschi getting a quality shot on Lack. Agostino and Stajan would collaborate once more creating a great chance.
Hathaway would take a reckless boarding call on now public enemy number-one Frank Corrado which sent the Canucks to their first powerplay. The Flames aggressive penalty kill would rear it's head during this kill. Moments into the PK, Zach Kassian ran Jonas Hiller ending the Canucks' PP.
Ferland continued to make a strong case for his place moving forward. His first shift was intense and focused on generating opportunities. I, like many really love Ferland and what he brings
The continued success of shot attempts and possession was very visible throughout the period and more importantly throughout the game. Lance Bouma was a part of that early on managing to get himself his first penalty shot of his NHL career. Unfortunately Eddie Lack read the attempt perfectly preventing the truculent forward from scoring.
The period would end with Alexandre Burrows taking a holding penalty. Baertschi would get another scoring opportunity to end the period. Sven's visible growth from last season is a benefit for the organization and for the fans who feel like he's fallen to the side compared to other prospects like Gaudreau, Granlund, and now Bennett.
The Flames outshot the Canucks 13-3 during the first period.
Although Calgary started the period on the powerplay, it would be negated by a Devin Setoguchi hooking call. This was Setoguchi's first game since an injury he received from a knee-on-knee. He wasn't too bad throughout the evening but at times it felt like he was fighting the puck. He spent a majority of the night skating with Monahan.
Shortly after the Canucks powerplay ended, while maintaining possession in the Flames end; Chris Higgins sniped home a shot past Hiller to break the scoring game. Higgins was one of the more consistent Canucks throughout the evening.
After that, Henrik Tommernes took a high-sticking penalty on Dennis Wideman leading to another powerplay. The Flames would rely heavily on Sam Bennett during this man-advantage where he danced around defenders and crashed into Eddie Lack. Bennett's ability and confidence to play at this level was visible throughout the entire evening. Midway through the frame, the Canucks would swap Lack out for Joacim Eriksson.
The ever present aggressive penalty kill continued during the period with the Flames generating several chances. Unfortunately, Nicklas Jensen came to play tonight and after several chances combined with a bad zone clear by Sean Monahan; Jensen struck beating Hiller extending the lead.
Monahan would redeem himself for the gaffe zone clearance and after Jensen took a penalty, he would score 14 seconds into the PP to cut the lead in half. Bennett and Giordano would assist on the powerplay marker. Sbisa would take a penalty late in the second and the Flames would end the second frame down a goal and on the powerplay.
The Canucks definitely woke up but the Flames still lead 26-12 in shots.
Brad Thiessen would take over for Jonas Hiller in the third period. Hiller would finish the game 10/12 saves with a 83.3% SV. Hiller didn't look too bad this evening and it's probably a safe bet he'll be starting a majority of the games these year barring injuries.
The remainder of the powerplay from the second period wouldn't yield another goal or a quality chance. Sven would be at it again later on though, feeding a beautiful pass to Bill Arnold. Arnold had a quiet game with 13:18 played predominately in the bottom six role. He's looked good during the preseason minus a few bad penalties in Edmonton.
Sven wasn't done though, later on he fed Giordano another beautiful pass but unfortunately our captain couldn't capitalize. Shortly after Ryan Culkin, paired with Raphael Rafa Diaz would breakdown in their own end allowing Calgarian Hunter Shinkaruk to score on Brad Thiessen. Culkin was clearly out of position and the likelihood of playing in the AHL this season is high for him. Culkin would then take a hooking penalty 12:06 into the third frame which was just poor.
Despite the struggles with penalties, Bennett had a spectacular scoring chance on the PK. Bennett would not stop this evening and gave the fans what they wanted to see. Sadly, it would not be a victory tonight. With Thiessen pulled and several attempts on net, they failed to capitalize and fell 3-1 in Calgary.
Final shots: 31-23 Calgary this evening.
- Sven Baertschi looked well..svensational. He was generating scoring chances and driving possession. +4 on Corsi tonight generating 14 Corsi events and 10 against. His passes were connecting and it showed how dialed in he was this evening. Minus the gaffe that lead to the goal earlier.
- Sam Bennett, everybody. What a debut for the fourth overall pick. He didn't look out of place at all. I hope the team does the right thing with him this year and gives him his 8-9 game tryout and then sends him back. No need to burn a year of his ELC when he can benefit from a year in the OHL.
- Giordano and Brodie continue to showcase why they're capable of being regarded as an elite level pairing. They are the workhorses that will continue to drive the team throughout the year - health permitting. Hopefully this year they can be deep in Norris consideration but it's early to even consider that.
- Sean Monahan had a strong game, minus the zone clearance mistake. He was calm all night and very complete. The goal was a nice touch to redeem the mistake and he looks like he is ready for a strong year with the club.
- Kenny Agostino showed some fantastic flashes this evening and looked to be in the running for a roster spot hopefully.
- Michael Ferland had a great evening again - he was really consistent this evening. Ferland was a positive EV possession player this evening with 21 Corsi events for and 11 against. Look to see Ferland continue his pursuit of an opening night spot.