FGD 2: A second chance for a first impression (7pm MT, SN360/1)

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.

THE FLAMES

Tonight’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanKris Versteeg

Matthew TkachukSam BennettTroy Brouwer

Micheal FerlandMikael BacklundMichael Frolik
Lance BoumaMatt StajanAlex Chiasson

Mark Giordano

T.J. Brodie
Jyrki JokipakkaDougie Hamilton

Dennis WidemanDeryk Engelland

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.

THE OILERS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Milan LucicConnor McDavidJordan Eberle
Benoit PouliotRyan Nugent-HopkinsZack Kassian
Patrick MaroonLeon DraisaitlJesse Puljujarvi
 Tyler PitlickMark LetestuLANDER

Oscar KlefbomAdam Larsson
Andrej SekeraKris Russell
Darnell NurseGRYBA

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.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES OILERS
Wins 0 1
Points 0 2
Power Play 33.3% 16.7%
Penalty Kill 83.3% 66.7%
Score Adjusted Corsi 40.1% 36.1%

HISTORY LESSON

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.

  • Wheels

    Worst powerplay in the league by miles. I watch a team like San Jose bring the puck in and actually do something with their PP every time. Why is this so hard for the Flames? So frustrating.

  • McRib

    Johnny Gaudreau looks like he sat on a couch for the last two weeks watching NFL games on TV. He will figure it out soon I have little concern, but if his contract negotiation dragged out any further it would have been damaging to say the least.

  • flames2015

    Jokipakka’s been good, strong fast skater and that was a beauty of a goal. Wideman continously shows that hes too slow for the game. Put in kulak and we have a full d core that can skate and move the puck.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    Well, it’s McDavid 2, Flames 0. Everyother Oilers line has been absolutely dominated by the Flames, Connor is just unreal. Hoping for a better result tomorrow.

  • shaner

    I thought gio was really solid tonight…..especially when he complained to the ref to get a diving call, very “captainish” move. but it’s progress he only got burned 4x tonight instead of 5x 2 nights ago.

  • McRib

    Flames outshot the Oilers 76-55 in these two games, despite playing very sloppy Hockey. It’s not time to panic folks, if not for Talbot standing on his head the outcome would have been very different. Oilers fans obviously think they are winning the cup, time to leave the site for the rest of the night Oilers trolls will be out in full force.

    Wish FN moderators spent as much time analyzing Oilers trolls post as they do of Flames fans getting frustrated with the constant Oiler trolling (97Train has singlehandily ruined this site and he is being protected and embraced by FN moderators, ludicrous!!!). You know it’s bad when all Flames fans leave this site immediately after losses.

    • shaner

      Talbot stood on his head? really……..what tough saves did he make? where did he rob someone? seems to me his save percentage is flattering because he hasn’t faced tough shots?

      too bad there calling for more snow in alberta because if it was raining….nobody could see you crying

    • Ari Yanover

      honestly this site’s backend is not super great but i THINK i banned train?? got bored. let me know if there’s anyone else you guys want banned i’m just killing time watching football

  • BlueMoonNigel

    What a steaming pile the Flames were again tonight!

    10 shots in the last two periods. Loved all that passing and not shooting on the PP. Is that GG’s solution to boost possession time?

    Elliott is hardly making us forget about Kipper or Ramo. As for Elliott, you can take the Blue out of St Louis, but he’ll be singing the Blues as a Flame.

    My goodness did the Flames look slow in both games.

    Already 4 points behind the Oilers and 0-2 against a division rival. That’s a bad, bad way if you plan to be a playoff contender.

    Not saying they will, but let’s say the Flames replicate their dismal October from a year ago. What gives? Can’t fire the coach because the code says he gets a minimum of 20 games to put his stamp on the team. A Stockton airlift? That means having the fans pay NHL prices to watch AHL talent. Not a great LT strategy. Blockbuster deal? Could be hard under the best of conditions, but who do they move who has any value? Could package their first rounder to Tampa for da Bish but I don’t think they have enough sweeteners to pull off that deal. I know: bring back those rubbish horse head jerseys. For a brief moment that will keep the fans chattering about the team without having to mention their win-loss record.

    A regulation loss to the Canucks on Saturday and the Flames can pretty much kiss the playoffs bye-bye.

  • TurkeyLips

    Jeez, every red guy was literally bumping into each other simply trying enter the opposing zone. Our neutral zone play has been absolutely torrid so far this season.

  • BluDino

    The better team won that game.
    Flames looked slow and still not jiving. There were so many missed passes, our offence was broken and attacks constantly neutralized in the boards.
    The Oilers looked tight, not amazing just tight. Hopefully things connect soon.

  • cberg

    Not sure what happened after the first period, as it seemed they sat back and stopped attacking. Giving up 5 breakaways isn’t a recipe for success either. The Flames definitely dominated for large parts of the game but lack of 60 minute play and giving up 3 bell golden chances isn’t going to cut it.

    It still looks like pre-season for some of the guys, and considering a few circumstances with individual players, it is.

    Waiting for win number one. Tomorrow, hopefully.