Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers, 8 PM MT, Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
|TV: RSN, TVA Sports 2|
|Radio: Sportsnet 960|
The Calgary Flames will open up the 2016-17 season with a trip to Edmonton to do battle with provincial rivals the Oilers. The Battle of Alberta will christen the Oilers new home Rogers Place and the Flames would love nothing more than to soil that celebration with a win. Calgary closed Rexall Place Era of the Battle of Alberta at the end of last season with a 5-0 win, so why not ruin another Edmonton Oilers celebration?
The Flames and Oilers both finished last season at the bottom of the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Calgary finished last season by winning 3 of their last 5 and the Oilers finished the season with 1 win in their last 5. Needless to say, neither team made the playoffs and both will be looking to rebound this season. Calgary and Edmonton do boast some of the league’s best young talent and this should be an evenly contested battle. Edmonton dealt former #1 pick Taylor Hall to the NJ Devils in the offseason and made young star Connor McDavid their captain. The Flames meanwhile inked both of their young pillars, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, to long term deals this offseason. There are many new faces on both of these rosters and behind their respective benches, but the BOA is always a fierce rivalry game that gets the blood flowing no matter how long the players have been with their franchises.
Calgary is looking to come out the gate quickly and avoid the slow start that buried them at the beginning of last season. Poor goaltending sent the Flames reeling to a 3-9 record in the month of October and they never recovered. The draft day trade that brought the Flames Brian Elliott should cure those ills and the signing of Chad Johnson gives the Flames a proven backup who can spell Elliott when he needs a breather.
The Flames finished the preseason with a record of 3-4-0 and they scored only 10 goals in those 7 games while giving up 16. Edmonton on the other hand finished above .500 at 5-3-0 (2 of those wins against the Flames) and scored 22 while giving up 21.
Seeing it’s both teams first games of the season, let’s look at how they finished last year:
|Calgary Flames||Edmonton Oilers|
|5th Pacific||Division||7th Pacific|
|12th West||Conference||14th West|
|Gaudreau (30)||Goals||Hall (26)|
|Gaudreau (78)||Points||Hall (65)|
|Ramo (.909)||SV %||Talbot (.917)|
|17.0% (22nd)||PP||18.1% (18th)|
|75.5% (30th)||PK||81.1% (18th|
Calgary Flames 0 Vancouver Canucks 4
The Flames last skated in their final game of the preseason and were shutout by the Vancouver Canucks by the score of 4-0. This game featured players on PTO deals and players on the roster bubble trying to earn their spot. Chad Johnson got the starting goalie duties and gave up 4 goals on 26 shots. Here are the highlights.
Edmonton Oilers 2 Vancouver Canucks 3
The Oilers finished up their preseason with the Vancouver Canucks and just like the Flames, they found themselves on the losing end of a 3-2 decision. Cam Talbot got the start in this final tune up and allowed 3 goals on 21 shots. Connor McDavid pumped in his 4th goal of the preseason, but it wasn’t enough to get the Oilers the win. Here are the highlights.
Calgary Flames: Brian Elliott (2015-16 stats): 23-8-6, 2.07 GAA, .930 SV%
Edmonton Oilers: Cam Talbot (2015-16 stats): 21-27-5, 2.55 GAA, .917 SV%
Player To Watch
Calgary Flames: Matthew Tkachuk. It’s yet to be determined how much ice time the #6 draft pick will receive, but he made quite an impression this preseason, scoring 3 of the Flames 10 goals. He should continue to see a good amount of time seeing he jelled very quickly with Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer.
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid. He gets a ton on hype and deservedly so. This is his team now, as the Oilers sent former #1 overall pick and team points leader Taylor Hall to the NJ Devils. McDavid now wears the Captain’s C and must become the Oilers “main man.”