The Calgary Flames lost the home part of their split squad set against the Oilers by a score of 2-1. Despite outshooting the Oilers 33 to 21, the Flames could not bury many of their glorious chances and were unable to break through on the scoresheet until there were only 9 seconds left in the game.
The opening period was somewhat uneventful, there were a few good chances but nothing that came to fruition. The Flames came closest to scoring in the period while on a 2 minute 5-on-3 powerplay, when a nice passing play from Oliver Kylington to Hunter Shinkaruk to Matt Stajan resulted in Stajan hitting the outside of the post instead of the wide open net. It was scoreless after 1, with the shots 8 to 5 for the Flames.
Early in the second period, Sam Bennett set up Troy Brouwer for a goal that was waved off due to Matthew Tkachuk interfering with/being pushed into the Oilers’ goaltender, Jonas Gustavsson. The next shift Bennett almost set up another new addition, Alex Chiasson, for a goal but he failed to convert on the chance.
My biggest takeaway from this game in general was how great Sam Bennett looked, as well as how much it seemed like Glen Gulutzan trusted him. In the second period, Bennett got a chance on the penalty-kill and went end-to-end shorthanded for a quality scoring chance. Before the period was up, he also hit the crossbar. Bennett had a very solid game, playing 20:32, creating many chances for himself and setting up others. It really looks like he is going to break through this year, I am happy to have snagged him in the 16th round of my fantasy draft yesterday.
Brian Elliott was scheduled to play the first 2 periods and in his first appearance at the Saddledome, he looked solid. He was not tested too much but he stopped all 12 shots he faced. It was scoreless after 2 period.
The Oilers broke through in the third period on the powerplay. Anton Slepyshev banked the puck in off Mason McDonald from behind the net, another rough goal past McDonald. McDonald did settle in after that and made a few nice saves throughout the rest of the period, stopping 7 of 8 shots in total.
The Flames peppered former draft pick Laurent Brossoit with shots, but were unable to beat him. Troy Brouwer in particular had many chances but was repeatedly denied or missed the net. The top line of Tkachuk-Bennett-Brouwer looked good together. They moved the puck well in the offensive zone and while unable to get on the scoreboard, they generated many chances which was promising to see. The trio could give the Flames a very different looking forward group.
After the Oilers scored an empty net goal with 1:03 to go in the third, Oilers forward Josh Currie took a spearing penalty on Matthew Tkachuk, getting the Flames a late powerplay. After Matt Hendricks took a tripping penalty, Mark Giordano scored on a rocket shot from the point on the 5-on-3 with 9 seconds to go. However, there was not enough time to get another one and the Flames fell to the Oilers, 2-1.
Flames 3 Stars
- Sam Bennett: Looked dominant, created many chances, had 7 shots on goal. As long as he is not as snakebitten as last year, he looks like he is in for a big season.
- Mark Giordano: Looked like Gio, scored a nice goal, should be ready to hit the ground running this season.
- Hunter Shinkaruk: Shinkaruk was skating real well, making some plays and creating offense, a good step in his bid toward a roster spot.
The Flames lost at home and in Edmonton to the Oilers today, but it is preseason so we cannot take it to heart too much. A group of players will be heading to WInnipeg to play against the Jets tomorrow night, some cuts should be coming in the next couple days as well.