Well folks, the first two pre-season dates on the Calgary Flames 2014-15 calendar are in the books, as the Flames and Edmonton Oilers did battle in a pair of simultaneous games. In Calgary, the home side won 1-0. In Edmonton, the home side won 3-1. In both games, the visiting team was said to be listless at times. In both games, the home side was said to have been filled with more recognizable names.
It was the first day of the pre-season.
This report will mostly focus on the game at the Saddledome. For a recap of the game in Edmonton, ON’s Jason Gregor has one for your reading pleasure. Curtis Glencross scored Calgary’s only goal (on the power-play), while Marco Roy, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton.
Calgary out-shot Edmonton 28-16. Shot attempts were 54-38. Both were basically good representations of how well Calgary played and how so-so Edmonton played. Lots of shots went off legs or feet or backsides. Execution was generally low, and a lot of passes – especially in the first – ended up several feet away from their intended targets. Calgary had fewer of those and generated more (and better) chances, so they won the game. T.J. Brodie scored the game’s only goal on the power-play.
There weren’t a lot of high-energy moments in the game, so let’s break format a bit.
WHO WAS GOOD?
Nobody on the Flames was excellent or took over the game, but a lot of players played pretty well.
- Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie were already in mid-season form. They were poised and really controlled the flow of the game when they were on the ice.
- Sean Monahan was excellent in the first period and merely “pretty good” in the second. He has a lot of confidence with the puck, and was quite patient at waiting for the play to develop in the offensive zone.
- Similarly, in the first period it became apparent that Joe Colborne has finally discovered that he’s 6’4″ and big. He used his size much more than he has in the past, particularly on one chance where he backed into the slot from the corner and set up Johnny Gaudreau for a scoring opportunity. By using his back-side to create space (and time for the play to develop).
- I am not a huge fan of the signing, but Deryk Engelland was better than I thought he’d be. His mobility is not amazing, but when he’s in the defensive zone, he’s very judicious with his movement – he doesn’t move around a lot – but he’s usually in the right spot to break up a play. He’s not T.J. Brodie, but he wasn’t a dumpster fire against the Oilers B-team on the first day of the pre-season schedule.
- Max Reinhart was pretty damn good. He was good in all three zones and set up the only goal of the game (by T.J. Brodie) with a nice cross-ice feed on the power-play. He fore-checked well, too.
- Garnet Hathaway appears to be channeling Lance Bouma, in terms of being a beast on the forecheck and trying to make the other team hate him by buzzing around the net and blocking shots and such. Again, first game of pre-season, but he was pretty effective in a supporting role.
WHO WASN’T GREAT?
- Ryan Culkin never got burnt too badly, but he had a few wonky plays – he pinched at the wrong time and Sheldon Brookbank had to make a nice play to break up a 2-on-1 chance. He also had a stick break on a power-play chance that nearly led to an odd-man rush. He was more unlucky than bad, but he was arguably the most out-of-place player.
HOW WAS GAUDREAU?
- I thought he was good. He definitely wasn’t able to wheel and deal in the first period, but he seemed to find a comfort level in the latter stages of the game and began to move around a bit more. After the game, coach Hartley mentioned that he wished Gaudreau would shoot a bit more.
A 16-SAVE SHUTOUT? HOW WERE THE GOALIES?
- Neither was terrible. There was some miscommunication early on in terms of Jonas Hiller play the puck more than the defenders were used to, but they adjusted. Hiller wasn’t really challenged that much – he made 8 saves, and 7 of those were in the second half of the second period.
- Nobody in the crowd seemed to register who Brad Thiessen was, but he was effective when he needed to be, making 8 saves in the third. He wasn’t really challenged all that much either, though.
Gonna go with T.J. Brodie. He scored the game’s only goal and showed mid-season levels of poise and execution.
SUM IT UP
Calgary won! Well, they won half of the games they played today. They’re back in (game) action on Thursday in Sylvan Lake when they host the Arizona Coyotes. That game will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360. And it’s an early one, kicking off at 5pm MT, as part of the Kraft Hockeyville festivities. (Sylvan Lake won, so they get a game and arena renos. And presumably a bunch of Kraft Dinner.)