Pre-Season Post-Game: Canucks Torched In Tune-Up

Tonight’s game at the Scotiabank Saddledome didn’t matter.

It was so inconsequential, so insignificant, that they played a bit of three-on-three overtime for practice anyway. Not to determine the game, mind you, but because it’s pre-season and seemingly the NHL wants to emphasize how much the games don’t count as meaningful competition.

But despite how much these games don’t count in the standings, you can tell the Calgary Flames really love beating the Vancouver Canucks. Dressing a good chunk of their probable opening night roster, the Flames skated to a 4-1 victory tonight to even their pre-season record at 2-2 – for whatever it’s worth.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period was the most even of the third, although the Flames ended up hemming the Canucks in more at even-strength than they’re used to. However, Calgary Hitmen forward (and aspiring Canuck) Jake Virtanen opened the scoring on the power-play, needing just 38 seconds of a Lance Bouma minor to beat Jonas Hiller for a 1-0 lead. That lead lasted until the latter stages of the first, where a nice Dougie Hamilton rush on an awful Vancouver line change led to Michael Frolik’s rebounding going straight off Richard Bachman and right to Sam Bennett in the slot for the tap-in and the 1-1 tie. Micheal Ferland leaned into one on a late-period power-play to give Calgary the lead going into the dressing room.

The middle frame was much more skewed towards Calgary, as Vancouver’s unraveling continued unabated from the first period. Calgary out-shot ’em 14-8 and pushed their lead to 4-1 off goals by Sean Monahan and Frolik. The third period was more even, but by that point the Flames were simply rolling lines and hoping to get out of the game unscathed. They did so, and ended up with a pretty impressive victory against their most bitter (recent) rival.

It should be noted: Vancouver dressed their B+ team, as they were without Ryan Miller and the Sedins, but it wasn’t like the Flames dressed their best guys and beat up on some scrubs – Vancouver brought young, hungry players to town and lost.

Oh, and then Kris Russell scored in the practice 3-on-3 overtime, just to rub it in.

RED WARRIOR

It’s cliche, but I gotta go with Micheal Ferland, who continues to astound and frustrate the Canucks. He also was second on the Flames with four shots, trailing only Mark Giordano in that category.

Honourable mentions to Giordano (6 shots), Drew Shore (9 wins on 10 faceoffs) and Dougie Hamilton (+3 with some nice plays).

THAT WAS WEIRD

Brandon Prust fought Blair Riley in the first period. Riley fell over and the fight was done quickly. But one problem: Riley wasn’t on the roster for tonight’s game. Whoops.

It’s pre-season for everybody, I guess.

UP NEXT

The Flames like playing the Canucks so much, they’re doing it again tomorrow. They fly to Vancouver and visit Rogers Arena tomorrow night at 8pm. It’s televised on Sportsnet West and available as always on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

  • RedMan

    It was nice to see all the guys you expect to show up, show up.

    Frolik is as advertised, or better. Ditto Dougie.

    Top line shaking the rust, look like they’ll pick up where they left off.

    Bennett looked much better this game – whether it’s rhythm , nerves, rust, or trying to do to much like some have said, tonight he looked much more like the kid who came in at the playoffs and wowed everyone.

    Ferland – The coach laid out some lofty expectations for the kid to grow into, with the potential of top 6, and Ferland looks like he is going to do everything he can to make it happen. Hoping he can do it, and become a dominant power forward that teams hate to play against, that can put up 40-60 pts.

    Goalies: Ortio has become the man to beat for both Hiller and Ramo. Last year Hiller had a habit of letting in the softy every game for a stretch – then being strong. Seems he was shopped a number of times last fall, so makes you wonder if the team hasn’t already decided to go with the two fins going forward. that’s my guess. Right now, Hiller has the better stats overall, but the coach didn’t have a lot of confidence in him last year, it seemed. I wonder how old Hiller is in “goalie years”. does he have 3-5 more good years, or is he set to drop off?

  • RedMan

    I hope the team allows the lines and pairings to play together in whatever configuration they go with for the season opener before the regular season starts.

    Nice to get the evaluations in, but give the lines and pairings you go with a chance to work together for a couple games before the season starts.

    1 or 2 extra wins or losses either way at the beginning of the season, due to preparedness, can become critical points at the end of the year. Don’t pull an Eakins – get the lines and pairings together!

    thanks for tuning in, come back often for more of my inexperienced and uneducated opinions. 🙂

    • Jeff, can’t believe all the trashes on your comments, maybe a bunch of non-Flames fans cruising by? I believe I’ve read after tonight there will be massive player moves to pare the roster and start focusing on opening day.

      I kinda liked the Ferland with Gaudreau and Monohan line, along with Bennett, Frolik and Hudler. Those two lines seemed to work better than just switching Frolik and Hudler and having Ferland with Bennett. If Ferland can continue to develop that would give the Flames a lot more strength on the first line and benefit when teams try to go Power vs Power, while having a defensively-responsible killer second line.

      I’m also loving the face-off work of Monohan and tonight Shore. It makes a difference. In the post-game interviews both Ferland and Monohan were making the point that they are really trying to focus on possession of the puck and carrying it in to the zone versus dump and chase. The FN writers will be ecstatic about that. As will I as it’s more exciting and I think leads to better chances overall.

      • RedMan

        No, these are definitely Flames fans trashing Jeff, not Oilers fans, hence why only his posts are being trashed and no one else’s. Everyone is tired of him, shouldn’t be a surprise if you pay attention to the garbage he constantly posts

  • Burnward

    Couple thoughts from the game:
    Can’t believe Boston traded Hamilton. Looked great out there and has an awesome combo of size and speed. Jumped up on the rush and made stuff happened but was able to get back too.
    Drew shore was very noticeable, for good reasons – hope he can put together a solid campaign.
    Seiloff had some nice plays, but was mixed about 50/50 with bad give always or turnovers.
    Top two lines looked good, some real nice play hemming the puck in vans zone.

    • Cfan in Vic

      Gio and Hamilton back and forth on the power play looked deadly. That combo is a real killer. I’m getting so fired up for this season.

      I hope the Cansucks play a full NHL roster tonight.

  • Dan the Drunk

    I trashed all of Jeff From Lethbridges comments… Why?

    1. Hiller was never on the trade block “last fall”. He had just joined the Flames. At the end of the year, Ramo was being shopped near the deadline. Injury forced the flames to keep both goalies. Jeff’s facts are wrong here.

    2. Hartley played Riley who wasn’t to be dressed according to the scoresheet – that’s concerning. Or possibly a sneaky/crafty move to add a guy to the line up and check him out. Hum…

    3. This is the time to experiment with line combinations. That line of Frolik – Bennett – Hudler was a surprise last night. The Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland another… Bottom six? Last defensive pairing? I think Hartley is working on that tonight.

    There are 47 players remaining in camp as of today, and four exhibition games left. With that, you can only dress 19 + a backup goalie for the games. Some players will not get another chance to play (even if you dress two completely different teams). But there’s some obvious cuts too. If I was boss, I’d like to have a look all the players vs. players to get a WOWY impression.

    The trashes weren’t personal.

    • RedMan

      and not taken personal either –

      lots of different opinions, and when it comes to hockey, I’ll be the first to admit that, as a kid who grew up in a desert (where it was hard enough to get ice in a cup of water, let alone enough to use for skating) i have never played, and as such my observations are always just the speculation of a fan that enjoys the game.

      I definitely don’t feel like an expert, just like to throw my two cents worth.

      as for trading Hiller, i am going on comments made by rob kerr and others on the 960 who said he was being shopped more than once.

      as for the guy not being listed on the game sheet – Hartley took credit for that, saying he made the change on the roster late, but forgot to change it on the sheet he submitted. maybe a play – maybe just a brain cramp.

  • Flames fans should be pleased Gio and Hamilton look impressive together that pairing alone can anchor a team.I really like Ferland but not in your top six at least not yet he can meet and beat expectations playing in the bottom six. Look forward to my team offering real competition for the Flames it would be sweet to once again watch the battle of Alberta with meaning.I would really enjoy seeing the Canucks take a nose dive this season their fans deserve that.