Different night, same result. After losing the season opener in Edmonton 7-4, the Flames fell again to the Oilers in their home opener, by a score of 5-3.
The Flames came out flying in this one. Soaring, even. Sean Monahan opened the scoring just over a minute into the game, after a Deryk Engelland shot hit the post, creating a scramble, which resulted in a goal. Gaudreau picked up an assist on the goal, making it #23 and #13’s first points since their big, new, long-term contracts.
Early on, Brian Elliott looked solid. He stopped Mark Letestu on a breakaway after Dennis Wideman turned it over (Wideman turned over many things this game). The Flames’ lead did not last long, as Connor McDavid used his speed to pull away from everyone and put it past Elliott to tie the game. However, the Flames kept pushing in response and Michael Frolik scored his second goal in as many games to put the Flames up 2-1 just over halfway through the first period.
The score was 2-1 after 1, with the shots 24 to 12 for Calgary. They had a ton of shots, they were flying out there, things looked very promising....
Things really slowed down in the second period. After some good penalty killing earlier by the Flames, the Oilers’ powerplay broke through and Jordan Eberle knocked in a puck down low in the crease. That was all the scoring there was in a second period that really slowed down in comparison to the first. In fact, the Flames had 3 shots in the second period compared to 24 in the first.
2-2 after 2, with the shots 27-24 for the Flames.
Nice passing by an early Oilers powerplay led to a Leon Draisaitl goal just 1:28 into the third. McDavid got an assist on the play, his third point of the game and sixth point in just 2 games. It is truly terrible that he is an Edmonton Oiler, they do not deserve him. He is a phenomenal player. It is going to be tough playing him over the years.
Later in the period, Dennis Wideman turned the puck over for probably this 5th time in the game and Letestu had another breakaway, which he scored on this time. 4-2 Oilers. Jyrki Jokipakka would score his first as a Flame after good work in the offensive zone by Kris Versteeg and Micheal Ferland, but that would be as close as they would get. The Oilers added an empty netter and won by a score of 5-3. Final shot count was 35-29 for Calgary.
Flames 3 Stars
- Jyrki Jokipakka: After being scratched in his first game, Jokipakka looked significantly better alongside Hamilton than Grossman ever could and scored his first goal as a Flame. He finished with a 71.43% CF (all possession stats from hockeystats.ca).
- Sean Monahan: Monahan looks like he is settling in after missing basically all of training camp. He scored a goal, played 19:59 in all situations and created some good plays.
- Dougie Hamilton: Hamilton had a very solid game, leading the Flames with an 80% CF at even strength. He had 4 shots on goal and has shown much more of a willingness to engage physically this year, a good sign because the guy is a big dude.
- The Flames had 24 shots in the 1st period, it was unreal. A shame they only had 11 in the next 2.
- There seemed to be a lot of questionable calls being tossed around on both ends. Guess we will assume the referees are a little rusty. My favourite was when Jordan Eberle dove after being barely touched by Hamilton’s stick.
- Wideman was terrible. Bad, bad, bad. He is probably the slowest player on the team and he continually gives the puck away. I do not see why any team in the NHL would take him off the Flames’ hands. They may need to just bite the bullet and keep him in the press box for most of the year, he causes way too much damage on the ice.
- Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie were tasked with handling Connor McDavid’s line tonight and it did not go that great, with Brodano finishing with the worst possession stats on the team (Brodie 42.86% CF, Giordano 37.5% CF).
- Neither Bennett nor Tkachuk got on the board tonight, but both of them looked solid and had their moments. If they keep playing the way they are, they will break through on the scoresheet soon.
- Gaudreau is still working through things. He had many of his usual flashes of brilliance but a lot of things were just off, but he will be back to full speed very soon.
- While a couple of the Flames’ PKs looked very good, they still went only prevented goals on 2 of the 4. Meanwhile, they went 0 for 5 on the powerplay. Brian Elliott’s save percentage was less than .900 once again. Early days, but not the nicest things to see considering last year.
The Flames are heading to Vancouver tonight to play in the home opener of the Canucks on Saturday. Hopefully things can get back on track there.