(Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016-17 Calgary Flames season here at FlamesNation.ca. On behalf of everybody at the site, we’re really excited to have you aboard for the next 82 games (and perhaps…more?) of hockey action. And as fate may have it, we have a pretty fun game to start the regular season off.
The Flames start the season off in style, hitting the road to scenic Edmonton, Alberta to take on their most storied rival, the Edmonton Oilers. In an added twist, tonight’s contest will be the first official National Hockey League contest at the Oilers shiny new barn, Rogers Place. That means that a Flames victory tonight wouldn’t just put a tick in the loss column for the Oilers, but would also forever sully the history of the expensive little bauble they’ve built in their downtown area.
The puck is expected to drop well after 8 p.m. MT, likely closer to 8:45,(as we presume the Oilers will open their barn with a great deal of pomp and circumstance) and you can check it out on Sportsnet’s national feed (with Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson) or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias)!
Here are the projected lines for tonight’s first game of the season, via Daily Faceoff:
(Nicklas Grossmann, #8, is your third pairing defender.)
One year removed from having God-awful goaltending, the Flames will see Brian Elliott make his debut as the Flames top netminder. The game will also see the Flames debuts for Glen Gulutzan, Dave Cameron and Paul Jerrard behind the bench, and for Troy Brouwer, Nicklas Grossmann, Kris Versteeg and Alex Chiasson on the ice. Oh, and 2016 sixth overall pick Matthew Tkachuk makes his NHL debut.
Those defensive pairings are rather terrible, but those four lines are probably the best anybody can come up with given the Flames personnel this season. Tkachuk was passed over in the draft in favour of Jesse Puljujarvi, while Versteeg opted to sign with the Flames instead of the Oilers after attending training camp in Edmonton. Well-played, Mr. Versteeg. Veteran move.
Just one day after Kris Versteeg decided he’d rather play for Calgary, the Oilers will spend the better part of an hour with ceremonies to cut the ribbon on their new building. And then they’ll try to win a hockey game, something that’s been a challenge for them over the last decade.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Cam Talbot starts for the Oilers. We’ll see former Flames alternate captain Kris Russell debut for Edmonton, as well as the NHL debut of 2016 pick Jesse Puljujarvi. The Oilers are still a pretty raw team, but they have a few interesting pieces. Their defense is still a bit wonky, though.
But Connor McDavid alone may be enough to drag the boys up north towards respectability.
This is the 230th regular season game between the Flames and Oilers, and the 226th regular season Battle of Alberta overall. The Flames hold a hefty 115-88-22 edge in the series, and have won the season series between the two teams in each of the past three seasons. (The last time the Oilers won the season series outright was 2000-01, back when Don Hay and Greg Gilbert were coaches.)
More recently, the Flames won three of the five meetings between these teams last season. The last regular season meeting they had was a 5-0 thumping of Edmonton on Hockey Night in Canada in Calgary’s final trip to Rexall Place.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Want to see the Oilers perspective during tonight’s game? Your recommended enemy follows for tonight are:
Give these folks a follow. (And try to be nice!)
SUM IT UP
An 82-game journey begins with a single step tonight for the Flames. And what better way would there be to begin a season than with a victory over the Oilers in their brand-new barn?