Photo Credit: Dom Gagne-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 1: The season begins in Vancouver (8pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames (0-0-0, 0 points) kick off their 2018-19 regular season in a familiar way, facing the Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0, 0 points) at Rogers Arena. These teams are old friends, having faced off several times over the years in key games so why not begin the hockey season with another round of this rivalry?

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West (and the other national feeds) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. Dave Randorf and Louie DeBrusk have the call on the TV side tonight.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Dube – Ryan – Neal
Bennett – Jankowski – Czarnik

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Stone

Mike Smith starts in goal, backed up by David Rittich. Tonight’s healthy scratches are Dalton Prout, Curtis Lazar and Garnet Hathaway.

Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki make their National Hockey League debuts, while Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan, James Neal, Austin Czarnik and Noah Hanifin make their Flames debuts.

The Flames’ power play was a big emphasis both during the off-season and the preseason, and its success may be the key to overall season success for the club. If they get their puck-handling mojo working early this season, it could be huge for them.

The Canucks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Baertschi – Horvat – Boeser
Goldobin – Pettersson – Eriksson
Leipsic – Sutter – Motte
Granlund – Beagle – Virtanen

Edler – Tanev
Del Zotto – Stecher
Pouliot – Gudbranson

Jacob Markstrom starts for Vancouver, backed up by Anders Nilsson. The healthy scratches appear to be Alex Biega, Ben Hutton and Tim Schaller.

The Canucks begin a Sedin-free existence with a roster that’s all over the place. There’s young guys, old guys, and guys that are somewhere muddling around in the middle. It’s not contention or a rebuild, so it’s hard to know what exactly to call it.

The Numbers

Wins 0 0
Points 0 0
Corsi Close n/a n/a
Power Play n/a n/a
Penalty Kill n/a n/a

Injury Report

The Flames are healthy.

The Canucks are missing Antoine Roussel (IR).

History Lesson

This is the first of four meetings this season between these clubs. The Flames won three of their four games head-to-head last season.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Canucks Twitter follows for tonight:

  • The Sultan

    Well, we’ve been absolutely terrible on the PP, averaging less than a shot per PP. What should we do at the end of the game? That’s right, get an extra attacker out there. Goodnight, Flames fans.

  • The Sultan

    Looks like the Canucks are further along in their “rebuild” then both the Flames and the Oilers. Should have hired a real coach (Travis Green) when we had the chance.

  • Roger the Shrubber

    Game 1. Not time to panic. They played well overall but every time they started buzzing offensively, the Canucks would take a penalty and the atrocious powerplay would ruin any momentum they had built. Dube, Neal, Lindholm, Hanifin, and Hamonic all looked good.

    If they continue to go 0-5, 6, 7 on the powerplay then we can panic. This team is far more skilled than the one from last season. Give it more than the first night of the season before we start calling for Peters’ head.

    The Flames are terrible in recent history on opening nights.

    • The Sultan

      The Calgary Flames have the longest active season opening losing streak of all the NHL teams, and are I think 2 away from the record. I don’t care for the “it’s only game 1” narrative. Points count the same in Game 1 as they do in Game 82. What’s the point of even having a pre-season?

    • aye

      Agree, no time to panick, but it’s frustrating that they keep losing on opening night after the fans have waited so long to watch the team play again.
      Dube looked good in limited ice time, not sure about the other ones you mentioned, Hanifin was ok. I thought Valimaki made a few good plays.

    • canadian1967

      They used at least 3 different “types” of set ups on the PP, as well as 3 different types of zone entries.
      Looked way better once they stopped the drop pass.
      Not sure what you saw, but I didn’t see a lot of last year out there. In any phase of game play.

  • JoelOttosJock

    Wow. 0 for 7? What is Brodie, Giordano, and Backlund doing on a PP? Giordano is too slow. Brodie needs his eyes checked, cannot make a break out pass, and makes the worst decisions. Backlund, well he is a DEFENSIVE forward. Worst part of the game..Mike Smith. Terrible. Only goal he looked ok on was the fifth..oh wait..he was on the bench. Terrible. Tkchuck looked ok, so solid Hanifann. Valimakki was good. Hamonic was good. Bennetts line was good.

    • LannyMac

      Valimaki was not good nice pinch on that goal. Could have sworn that was Hamilton. Some players had decent moments but there was not a single player with a red jersey that had a good game. Every player looked tentative and made some horrible decisions

  • Stern

    This wasn’t that bad guys. A little sloppy. Not as bad as last year’s opener. A few miscues, some missed assignments. I’m still excited about our additions; I have yet to see this “edge” that James Neal apparently possesses, but thought that Dube, Czarnik, Lindholm and Ryan all showed flashes of offensive yalent. Valimaki, though having quite limited ice time, was fine. Brodie looked confident. The powerplay was why we lost; we were better 5 on 5 when the guys weren’t so mentally wrapped up in an orchestrated set play that they were free to wheel and deal with the skills that got them to where they are…. Really this is the first game where this exact group of guys played together.
    And Smith looked solid. Saturday night we win.

  • Juan Valdez

    Players like Gaudreau and Monahan are overrated in a sense because you never see them score a greasy goal when it matters. Tkachuk on the other hand always comes through in the clutch but it’s because he doesn’t wait for the game to come to him.

  • Cheeky

    Is Ward really Cameron in disguise? Disgusting PP! How about actually putting someone in front screening the goalie – what a concept…bet we won the corsi, some reason I’m having deja vu all over again. Stone looks like our new Bartkowski (we want Andersson!!!), and it takes until the last half of the last period for this team to wake up! Did they think the first 2 periods were warm up time. Sloppy defense, sloppy passes, horrible PP (momentum killer in overdrive), bad team play…3M line is dead, sorry folks but Czarnik looks better than Frolik. Better show up on Saturday boys…#outcoached….yet again…