About Last Night #1: Flames can’t buck opening night curse, fall to Avalanche

Statistical Breakdown

Team Stats

5v5 Player Stats

Calgary Flames
  • Andrew Mangiapane led the Flames in CF% with a strong 68.8% debut to the season and a game high
  • In his first regular season game, Milan Lucic did not have a strong possession game, posting a 30.0% CF% at 5v5
  • The third pairing of Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington also had a tougher night controlling a puck. They posted CF%’s of 43.8% and 41.2% respectively
  • Sean Monahan had a very strong evening with a goal and an assist, but also accounting for 3 iHDCF
Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyson Jost posted a team high 63.2% CF%
  • Although he accounted for two goals in his Colorado debut, Joonas Donskoi posted a game low 27.8% CF%
  • Nathan MacKinnon was lethal last night, posting 4 iHDCF and 6 iSCF
Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick

Thoughts on the Game

Death, taxes, and the Calgary Flames losing the season opener. Of course there are *checks schedule* 81 games left this season, so things are all not doom and gloom.

The opening frame truly showed the rust still left on some players, with the Flames an obvious step behind the Avalanche. That being said, full credit to Colorado who were fully prepared and lethal from the opening faceoff. They are bound to be a handful for everyone this season, and even though the Flames didn’t play their best, they were able to keep up with them over the final forty minutes and make things interesting.

The most impressive part of last night’s game had to be the play of David Rittich and Sean Monahan. The Flames new starting net-minder showed just why he was given the keys to the crease. He weathered the storm in the first period, and gave the Flames a steady presence to carry them through the rest of the game. It was interesting to see the number of doubters Rittich had entering the season, but I think he did what he could to dispel those doubts.

Monahan on the other hand looked to be on another level. He was the one Flames forward that looked completely ready to go for the entire game. His play-making skills looked to have taken a serious jump forward, and his goal and assist were both impressive plays. Monahan takes a lot of heat when being compared to other number one centers in the league, but he came out of the gates flying and it will be extremely enthralling to see how high he can take his game this season.

Moving on to the touchier subjects, Milan Lucic’s utilization is already a big question mark. Lucic did exactly what he was supposed to do last night, when he went after Nikita Zadorov for his questionable hit on Austin Czarnik. Lucic is here to stay, and you better believe he will defend his teammates. #17’s 17 minutes of penalties had him stapled to the bench for most of the third period, but when the Flames pulled Rittich for the extra attacker it was Lucic who took the ice. An extremely perplexing decision by Bill Peters, who had a wealth of other forwards at his disposal. My guess is they were looking for a net front presence, but Lucic never ended up making it to that position. It will be interesting to watch where he plays moving forward.

Finally, it looked like Michael Frolik and Oliver Kylington were still coming out of their summer slumber. Kylington made a few nice plays, but a few defensive lapses in judgements were concernign to see. This has always been his type of game, but last night it showed more than in the past. Frolik on the other hand simply did not look like the 3rd M of the 3M line. Two minor penalties, a few turnovers, and some poor defensive efforts have me concerned moving forward. Could a Frolik / Sam Bennett swap be on the horizon?

All in all, Flames hockey is back and that should make everyone extremely happy.

The Gaud, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good: The Flames first power-play unit was firing last night. Often a bit of an Achilles heel for the team, the man advantage kept the team in it last night.

Bad: The penalty kill was not as sharp as it needed to be. Their deployment is interesting, but got absolutely picked apart by the Avalanche. They need to look at something that would help limit cross-seam passes.

Ugly: Penalties. Penalties. Penalties. Some were warranted, but the majority of the first forty minutes was spent on special teams. Referees were also in pre-season form, but the calls needed to be more consistent and not as often.

Next Game

Opponent: Vancouver Canucks
Record: 0-1-0
Standings: 6th in Pacific
Season Series: 0-0-0


Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

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