The Flames haven’t won an opener in a VERY long time. They opened against the Oilers last season in Edmonton and got beat up. They opened up against Edmonton this season. The score wasn’t terrible, but the result was the same. Calgary fell 3-0 to their provincial rivals despite Mike Smith playing out of his mind. Too bad the rest of the Flames didn’t show. BTW, Connor McDavid is good.
1st Period: Calgary 0 Edmonton 1
Calgary’s newest goaltending acquisition found himself tossed into the Battle of Alberta faster than Mike Smith probably thought it would happen. Both teams came out flying and Edmonton peppered the Flames new keeper to the tune of 14 first period shots. Smith stoned Connor McDavid on a breakaway early and made an odd, yet dramatic save with his back. The Flames got a few decent chances in the first, but spent a good chunk of the period imposing their will on the Oilers.
Calgary hit the ice and used the body to try and set the tone, while Tanner Glass used his fists to announce his arrival to the game by picking up the Flames’ first fighting major of the season. But where it really counts on the scoreboard, Edmonton got the advantage. A breakdown on defence left Connor McDavid open on the crease (seriously, OPEN) and he took a feed from Leon Driasaitl to put home his first of the season giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead. The Flames would get a great chance as the period came to a close as Micheal Ferland redirected a shot over the net, but Edmonton would hold on for a 1-0 lead after 20.
2nd Period: Calgary 0 Edmonton 1
The first period belonged to Mike Smith. The second period? Mike Smith as well. The Calgary netminder continued to find himself in the cross hairs as the Oilers pumped 13 more shots on him, but he weathered the storm beautifully. The Flames meanwhile mustered only 8 shots on net, barely testing Cam Talbot. Calgary’s best chances came off the stick of Micheal Ferland as he fed Sean Monahan a beauty that was stopped and Ferland had his own shot attempt stopped as well. The save of the period went to Mike Smith as he took a rocket off the helmet that hit him so hard, his mask came off. The Oilers spent a good chunk of time in the Flames zone again, but luckily they weren’t able to find the back of the net.
3rd Period: Calgary 0 Edmonton 3
At least this game was consistent: Mike Smith bailing out the Flames and the Oilers continuing to dictate the pace of the game. Edmonton had more than enough quality scoring chances in the third and capitalized on a Calgary turnover.
Micheal Ferland (who played very well) had the puck hop off his stick and Connor McDavid took off like he was shot out of a cannon......and I’m sure you can fill in the rest. McDavid made the Flames look like they were standing still as he went end to end and scored his second of the game, giving the Oilers a 2-0 lead. The Flames scoring chances were few and far between and weren’t memorable at all. Smith would make some saves down the stretch to keep the Flames in the game, but the Flames offence was anemic and couldn’t get anything past Talbot. To add insult to injury Calgary couldn’t clear a puck out of their own end with an empty net and who else, Connor McDavid buried the empty netter for an opening night hat trick. That’s the first opening night hat trick EVER in Oilers history. Good grief.
The Flames looked flat footed tonight and the Oilers looked like they were in mid-season form. If not for Mike Smith, who knows what kind of nightmare this would have turned into. The Flames 4th line probably played the best tonight, which is nice, but hopefully not a common occurrence. Calgary was on their heels for most of the night and never made Cam Talbot feel uncomfortable and Calgary had no answer for Connor McDavid. Seven preseason games and this is what the Flames offered up on night #1 of the regular season? Calgary is now 0-4-1 in their last 5 against the Oilers.
Flame Of The Game
Mike Smith (G). As I mentioned above, without Smith this game is a horror show. Smith was tested 30 seconds in by the Edmonton
McDavids Oilers and he held his ground admirably. Smith surrendered 2 goals on 44 shots and I’m not sure what else he could have done tonight as the rest of the team let him down.
Next Up: Calgary vs Winnipeg, Sat. 10/7/17