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 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.
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.
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.