Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche, 7:30 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB
Calgary Flames 0-0-0 (0 pts) - Colorado Avalanche 1-0-0 (2 pts)
TV: SN1 - Radio: Sportsnet 960
The Flames are back......and boy do they look different. The Calgary team that was embarrassed by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of last year’s playoffs are a different team to start the 2022-23 season. Gone are the Matthew Tkachuk’s, Johnny Gaudreau’s, Sean Monahan’s, Erik Gudbranson’s and so on. In their place Calgary added Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar and Nazem Kadri. Honestly, the Flames are probably better with the lineup they have now than they were last season. Yes, losing over 200 points between Tkachuk and Gaudreau is tough to swallow/replace, but Huberdeau (100pt player himself), Weegar and Kardi bring toughness and winning experience to a team that needed some of that in past seasons.
Now, it’s opening night and we all know what that means: losses. Twelve of them in a row specifically, which is a VERY long dry spell in the sports world. Every season we think the Flames have a chance to break that streak, but every year they come up short and drawing the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche sure does add another layer to the pressure to win the first one of the season. Will they? Who knows, but in the end it’s really not that big of a deal. They didn’t win their first last season and won the Pacific and three years ago they didn’t win their first and were the best team in the Western Conference, so besides optics and never having to say “the Flames lost their opener again,” I guess it doesn’t matter.
The Flames come into the first game of this campaign very healthy, with only Oliver Kylington on the injured list for a personal issue with his family that he’s dealing with. Outside of that, fans will get a true look at the 2022-23 Flames and all of their new shiny toys. They’ve added offence, defence, leadership and extended Darryl Sutter. Is this the year the Flames make THE push and Coach Sutter gets it done with “his” players? We’re about to find out, but it’s nice for the Flames to start a season with no contract issues and players excited to be here and ready to work.
As for the Avalanche, no big deal. They’re just the reigning Stanley Cup champs and are loaded to the gills as usual. Gabriel Landeskog is still out with a lower body injury with no timetable for a return, but you still have to deal with local kid Cale Makar (the best young defenceman in the league), Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. So this will certainly not be a walk in the park for the Flames. Colorado hung their banner Wednesday night, defeated the Chicago Blackhawks and now it’s back to the business of trying to defend and repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.
Puck drop is at 7:30 PM MT from the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Calgary Flames: Kylington (IR- Personal)
Colorado Avalanche: Helm (IR- Undisclosed), Landeskog (IR- LBI), MacDonald (IR- Undisclosed)
View From The Opposing Bench
Colorado Avalanche SBN Coverage: Mile High Hockey
@NHLFLames, @Avalanche, @matchstickscgy, @milehighhockey, #GoAvsGo, #Flames, #GoFlamesGo, #COfRed, #CGYvsCOL
Betting Odds Via Betway:
For this season we’ll be bringing you betting odds from Betway! So without further ado... Here they are:
CGY - 2.60 (Favourites)
COL - 1.55 (Underdogs)
CGY - 2.20 (Favourites)
COL - 1.65 (Underdogs)
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 3 - Winnipeg Jets 5 (Preseason)
Colorado Avalanche 5 - Chicago Blackhawks 2
Players To Watch
Jonathan Huberdeau (F): All eyes will be on the Flames biggest addition this offseason in his first game with the Flames.
Cale Makar (D): Makar is a Calgary kid who’s done well for himself and is a player that can change the outcome of a game rather quickly.