The Flames dressed a pretty watered down line up tonight in their final preseason clash. Missing were Giordano, Brodie, Bennett, Brouwer, Tkachuk, Frolik and of course Gaudreau. The Canucks on the other hand, had basically the NHL roster dressed. So you knew there was chance that it may not be the prettiest game. And it was most definitely not.
The Canucks opened the scoring halfway through the period. At the end of a horrendous Calgary powerplay, the Canucks rushed down the ice and Brandon Sutter wired one past Chad Johnson, tonight’s starter. Later, former Calgary Flames 2011 picks Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund combined on a nice play to set up Jake Virtanen for a goal, with the entire Flames unit on the ice standing around watching.
It was not the nicest looking first period and it was 2-0 Canucks after 1, shots 8-8.
The Flames started the second period looking a fair bit better than they did in the first, but they really were not able to generate much in terms of quality scoring chances. After a Canucks powerplay expired, Daniel Sedin blasted a shot that deflected up and off Loui Eriksson’s skate past a screened Chad Johnson to make the score 3-0.
Johnson was not playing bad by any means, he made some nice saves at times, but the Flames gave up much better opportunities to their opposition than they themselves had created.
3-0 Canucks after 2, shots 19-16 in their favour.
Score effects took place and the Flames had a lot of shots on goal, moments of sustained offensive pressure and a really good looking powerplay. They did not end up on the scoreboard however. After outshooting the Canucks 14-1 in the third, the scoring of the game was rounded out by the Canucks, when Wideman high-sticked a puck down from behind his net, right in front of Chad Johnson who had no idea where the puck had gone, but Loui Eriksson did. 4-0 Canucks. It was that sort of night. Final shot count was 34-24 for the Flames, but their offense was not as threatening as the shot count would suggest.
Calgary Flames 3 Stars
It was really hard to find many players that looked good in this game. But there were a couple that had better games than the rest.
- Micheal Ferland: Ferland was probably the Flames best forward, but was unable to do much with his linemates in the first couple of periods, before getting some shifts with Shinkaruk and Monahan in the third. He looks much more confident and a bit faster this year and he powers through a lot of players. Hopefully he has the opportunity to play with Monahan and Gaudreau for a good look when the season gets underway, he may surprise some people.
- Mikael Backlund: Backlund was typical Backlund, although not on the scoresheet he played well at both ends of the ice, even with his 2 regular linemates (Korpikoski and Higgins) hardly contributing.
- Dougie Hamilton: The Flames dressed a pretty rough d-core tonight, so maybe it was just by basis of comparison, but Hamilton looked decent. He jumped up in the rush, had some heavy shots and seems more willing to engage physically than in the past.
- None of the tryout players did anything special tonight in their last chance to impress. Korpikoski handled the puck like a grenade, Higgins just really did not provide an impact and Grossman continues to be disastrous moving the puck in any zone. I would really question the logic behind signing any of these players to contracts, no matter how affordable they may be. If they have to sign one, I would pick Higgins, but I think they would be best served utilizing some youth in the organization or looking at the waiver wire in the comings days. It’s sad if they sign one of these guys but were not willing to pay Jooris.
- Sean Monahan did not have much of a presence in the game, but it was his first action of the preseason and he is coming off an injury, so we can cut him some slack. He also looked best in the third period, when Vey was replaced on his line with him and Shinkaruk, by Ferland.
- What exactly did Alex Chiasson accomplish this preseason?
- Matt Stajan should be thankful he signed that 4 year deal when he did, if he was on a PTO this year there is no way he would make the team. But instead he gets to make over $3M this season and next. Good for him, not so great for the team and the viewers.
That’s the wrap on another way too long preseason, real hockey is just around the corner! The Flames finished with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses. The Flames still have some cuts to make before the season starts on Wednesday (and a signing of someone fairly important to the team’s success). Here is how I think the opening line up should look the opening night based on what has occurred this preseason, we shall see what happens.
Extras: Hathaway, Vey
With Elliott starting in goal obviously.
Flames open the season next Wednesday in Edmonton’s new arena. Hopefully they ruin the opening game party.