Edmonton Oilers vs CGY
Led by a Connor McDavid opening night hat trick, the Flames were shutout on opening night losing 3-0. Calgary was only able to muster 26 shots to Edmonton’s 45, and were only able to generate 10 scoring chances the whole game. While there may be an overwhelming “Fire This Man” mood in the air this morning, this is Game 1 of 82. Edmonton, while you may not be a fan, deserves to be a Stanley Cup Favorite. This was the first game against one of the best teams in the league. Adjustments need to be made, but overreacting isn’t necessary.
Flames Player of the Game
Without a doubt, Mike Smith gets this honour despite registering a loss. While almost everyone was questioning whether or not he could still be a #1 goalie in this league, Smith went out and made the end result somewhat reasonable. Stopping 42 of 45 shots he faced, Smith was in the zone all night. Once the offence starts to click, that type of goaltending could be the x-factor heading into the rest of the year.
Bill: The Flames came out the gates flat-footed against a highly energetic Oilers team. It seemed like watching McDavid break the sound barrier multiple times on ice just shocked the Flames into lethargy. The Flames were caught doing too little too often, leaving Mike Smith to take the brunt of the work. He did a formidable job however, keeping the Flames in the game. It felt as though the Flames crawled back into preseason mode after a strong showing in the final preseason game against the Jets. While it is just one game, there is certainly a lot of work to be done. They can’t afford to be as sloppy as they were, especially with Father Jagr coming in to check up on the boys in a couple of days’ time.
John: As I dealt with losing access to my phone, a crashing laptop, and the fact I had to wake up at 5:30am EST, I realized I was putting in more effort than the Flames forward group was at that very moment in time. Losing to Edmonton aside, the effort that was put on the ice needs to be fixed heading into the next game. Besides the 3M line and Sam Bennett, everyone appeared to be one step behind. In addition to that, is a Glass – Stajan – Hathaway really the best 4th line you could ice? Roster requirements aside, this seems like a rag tag group of players that should have been working the press-box rather than taking up valuable minutes from other players. I would have been totally OK with signing Glass to a deal, had it been two-way. Troy Brouwer should have been dropped to the 4th line, centered by Mark Jankowski, with Curtis Lazar taking the temporary place alongside Bennett. We shouldn’t be seeing the same compositions again in the bottom six, because they clearly did not work well together. Hathaway should be heading down today, Jagr will be joining the team, but let the line juggling begin.
Karim: I’m incredibly upset about last night. There are a few key matchups that the Flames need to win if they want to beat the Oilers. They have to get above average goaltending, which they definitely got in Mike Smith; he was fantastic. The Flames’ defense also has to put up a fight against the potent Oilers offense and they just weren’t up to the task last night. Brodie and Hamonic were shaky, and that third pairing was downright brutal at times. The third key matchup, the one that I’m most disappointed about, is that the Flames’ offense needs to be better than the Oilers’ defense. The top-9 last night couldn’t create any sustained pressure in the offensive zone, looked timid and hesitant all night long, and got overworked by a shallow and injured defense corps. Troy Brouwer was terrible, the fourth line did almost nothing to generate anything meaningful except for giving Zack Kassian a pointless 5-minute timeout in the opening period, and Johnny and Mony got absolutely dominated by the McDavid line. However, from what we saw from 97 last night, I’m not sure that the remediation of all of these points would have been enough to stop that guy. He’s truly in a league of his own and I’m genuinely afraid of how dominant he is going to be for the next 10+ years. On to the next one, I guess.
Winnipeg Jets (0-1-0) @ CGY , or as we like to call it – The Jagr Debut *hopefully*