On Wednesday night in Edmonton, the Calgary Flames began their 36th National Hockey League season. It didn’t go well, as they had a rough first period and couldn’t recover. They lost 7-4 to the Oilers in the opening night for Rogers Place.
Tonight the Flames (0-1-0) try to even the scales against the Oilers (1-0-0) with their own home opener, christening the 2016-17 slate of games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s the first chance for Flames fans to welcome back Johnny Gaudreau from his contractual quagmire, the first home game for Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg, Alex Chiasson and Troy Brouwer, and a chance for the Flames to get sweet revenge against Edmonton for the loss on Wednesday evening.
The puck drops slightly after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 360/One (with Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias). It’s the home opener, so expect a bit of a delay, but also expect a good laser show and vintage jerseys. Last year’s puck drop was around 20 minutes after the hour, for your reference.
Tonight’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Brian Elliott starts again after giving up six goals on Wednesday (presumably backup Chad Johnson makes his Flames debut in Vancouver tomorrow night). Granted, the team defense was pretty bad and he was hung out to dry on a few of the goals. Many criticized Glen Gulutzan for his, um, “questionable” choice of defensive pairings on Wednesday. Especially his use of Nicklas Grossmann, who got lit up by a pinball machine in the first period.
But the good news is that Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie are back together, reuniting like the Be-Sharps! The other big change is Jyrki “Kevin” Jokipakka is in and Grossmann will eat popcorn tonight in the press box.
Hopefully loading up a defensive pairing with big guns works better at containing Connor McDavid than creating three iffy defensive pairings did on Wednesday. And hopefully the top line is able to create some offense; with the Oilers having last change, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg looked like three talented guys that had barely played together. They saw a heavy dose of the top line and top two defensive pairs and weren’t able to generate very much.
Hopefully a couple days of practice and having last change can make the Flames a lot smarter and crisper against Edmonton tonight than they were on Wednesday.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
After giving up four goals in Wednesday’s win, Cam Talbot starts again. After a collision with Matthew Tkachuk from Wednesday, Brandon Davidson is out for awhile and Eric Gryba has been recalled from the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and will play in his spot. Anton Lander slots in for Slepyshev on the fourth line, as well.
Keep an eye on any shenanigans involving Tkachuk, and also see if the Flames put some hits on Connor McDavid; linemate Milan Lucic jumped in and fought Deryk Engelland on Wednesday after a couple of big, clean hits on McDavid. Considering the Oilers rely on a skill game, perhaps the Flames may try to get them out of their comfort zone with some heavy play?
Or they can just try to out-play ’em.
|Score Adjusted Corsi||40.1%||36.1%|
The Flames got trounced by Edmonton 7-4 in their season opener. It was a couple of days ago. Nobody’s memory is that bad, so you probably do remember it. All-time, the Flames are still 115-89-22 against Edmonton.
After tonight, these teams don’t see each other again until mid-January.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Your recommended enemy follows for tonight are:
Give these folks a follow. (And try to be nice!)
SUM IT UP
It’s the second game of the season! The Flames could get back to .500! Considering that they won only three games in all of October 2015, getting into the win column early and often will be huge if they have playoff hopes in their hearts. With a division-heavy first chunk of the schedule, they have to take advantage.