For the second time in as many nights, the Calgary Flames fell in preseason action to the Edmonton Oilers. After suffering a 2-1 loss Saturday in Edmonton, the Flames were shutout by their provincial rivals 3-0 Sunday. It was a game where the Flames controlled the play at even strength, but were unable to generate offensively on a consistent basis. Combine that with two powerplay goals against, and the Flames fell to 1-3 this preseason.
The first period saw niether team score, but certainly started the theme of Devan Dubnyk’s strong night between the pipes for the Oilers. When it was all said and done, Calgary had outshot Edmonton 8-6 in a fairly uneventful 20 minutes.
The second period saw Edmonton open the scoring on a weird play, as an Oilers shoot in was misplayed by Flames starting goalie Henrik Karlsson. The misplay eventually allowed Shawn Horcoff an opportunity to slide the puck in, which he would for his first of the preseason. Calgary started to run into penalty problem as the middle frame wore on, and it would end up hurting them. On a Matt Stajan holding call, Linus Omark would cash in; after a Taylor Fedun shot was stopped, Jordan Eberle controlled the rebound and passed cross crease to Omark for a 2-0 lead. The scoring would finish late in period, as Eberle got himself open, took a pass in the slot and wired it past Miikka Kiprusoff, who had come for the second half of the period. Even though the Flames found themselves down 3-0, they had a shot edge of 15-10 in the period.
Calgary seemed disinterested in the third period, and certain guys shut it down, which is something you’ll see in the preseason. Dubnyk made a couple of solid, solid saves in the final frame, including a gorgeous close-in save on Jay Bouwmeester. He was very, very good stopping 30 shots for the shutout.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames lost? Special teams. Calgary allowed two powerplay goals on the night and took too many penalties overall while not scoring on six powerplay opportunities of their own. The Flames were the better team at even strength, certainly not allowing the Oilers much at all offensively, but when numbers weren’t even, Calgary wasn’t where they needed to be.
There wasn’t a ton that stood out for the Flames on this night, but Roman Horak had a strong evening up front. He centred an even strength line between Alex Tanguay and Tom Kostopoulos, and finished with 16:11 of ice time overall. Horak got significant time on both the penalty kill and the powerplay, and played a nice game. He was the principle player in the deal that sent Tim Erixon to the New York Rangers, and seeing him play well is probably nice to see for Flames fans. Horak was also identified by Brent Sutter following the game as having a good night.
Sum It Up
Curtis Glencross said it best: "You guys are probably reading too much into things, it’s just the preseason." It is just the preseason, and you can’t read a whole lot into things, but the Flames certainly have an idea as to what they need to work on going forward. They’ve barely worked on special teams to this point, and they’re trying a few new things on the penalty kill, so that time following the last preseason game and before the first regular season matchup should be a good time for teaching. Calgary’s back at it Tuesday.