The 2016-17 NHL preseason kicked off for the Calgary Flames with split squad games against the Edmonton Oilers. While half of the Flames and Oilers met in Calgary, the other half squared off up in Edmonton in the first NHL action at Rogers Place. These two teams will open up the arena for real on October 12.
The Flames brought many of their lesser known players to Edmonton as their main stars stayed home. Tonight’s travelling roster was highlighted by Mark Jankowski, Lance Bouma, Dougie Hamilton, Jon Gillies, and Chad Johnson. The Oilers meanwhile had some stars in action such as Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, Jesse Puljujarvi, Adam Larsson, and Cam Talbot.
This game is the first ever preseason game for Mark Jankowski, and Jon Gillies is expected to play the full game in the Flames net. Cam Talbot counters for the Oilers.
The game started off with Freddie Hamilton taking a delay of game penalty 12 seconds into the game. The Oilers would counter with a too many men penalty a few minutes later. Neither team would score on their early powerplays.
The Oilers would take a 1-0 lead eleven minutes into the period with Iiro Pakarinen scoring on a play in front of the net.
The Flames would answer back two minutes later with Kenney Morrison wristing a shot past the glove side of Cam Talbot. Mark Jankowski and Jon Gillies both recorded assists on the goal. Now the question is, will Gillies have more points than Bollig this year?
Calgary would take a 2-1 lead a minute and a half later when Freddie Hamilton had a bit of luck on shot that banked its way into the net. The goal was unassisted.
The opening period ends with the Flames ahead 2-1 but the Oilers outshooting the Flames 12-7 and having had the better chances.
Dougie Hamilton would be sent to the sin bin 39 seconds into the period with a roughing penalty. The Flames would promptly kill it off before the Oilers would take a holding penalty and send the Flames to the man advantage. The Flames would also be unable to strike.
The next big action would be a fight between Garnet Hathaway (of course) and Ben Betker after Betker landed a big hit on Hathaway. Hathaway would get an additional penalty for slashing to start the fight.
Again the Flames would kill off the extra penalty before Adam Larsson would take a holding call sending the Flames back to the powerplay which of course would lead to nothing.
The Flames would make it 0/4 on the powerplay in the game as they squandered another chance off another Oiler penalty a few minutes later.
The second period would end with the Flames remaining ahead 2-1 despite being greatly outshot by the Oilers 13-6 in the period and 25-13 thus far in the game. Jon Gillies has had a solid night through two periods.
The third period began with Eetu Laurikainen taking over for Cam Talbot in the Oilers net. Talbot finished with 11 saves on 13 shots and a .846 sv%. Gillies remained in net for the Flames.
Dougie Hamilton would send the Oilers to yet another early period powerplay, this time for interference. This time though the Oilers would make no mistake and tie the game 2-2 with a point shot that was deflected by Ryan Vesce.
The Oilers would take the 3-2 lead shortly after when Tyler Pitlick shovelled in a puck close to the net past a sprawled out Jon Gillies.
The Oilers’ Drake Caggiula would get a penalty shot but would sky it over the net.
The Flames wouldn’t even get a shot until 11:43 into the third when Dougie Hamilton had a weak backhander on net. The shot would be shortly followed up by another Oilers powerplay.
Kris Versteeg would essentially seal the game with 3:23 left when he deked Gillies and made it 4-2.
The Oilers would dominate the third period outscoring the Flames 3-0 in the period and outshooting the Flames 39-15 in the game. Only two shots for the Flames in the third.
The Flames looked very much like the team they should’ve tonight as they only had one NHL regular in the lineup from last season, that being Dougie Hamilton. It was a pretty disappointing game regardless as the Flames were walked over by the Oilers for most of the game who also didn’t dress a lot of their stars. Overall, the game wasn’t all that entertaining as it was simply a shutdown of the Flames by Edmonton.
Jon Gillies looked pretty good for most of the game and you can’t really fault him as the game went on as Edmonton took over.
That’s it from the preseason opener in Edmonton. The Flames take on the Jets tomorrow in Winnipeg and we’ll have your lineups and preview tomorrow.