The Calgary Flames beat the Nashville Predators by a 5-2 score on Saturday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
Oliver Kylington steps up
For much of the past several seasons, the Flames offense has really flowed through their captain (and best defenseman) Mark Giordano. With Giordano absent from the lineup, their offense flowed through 21-year-old Oliver Kylington. Kylington led the way with the team’s first goal, as well as an assist on the game-winner by Garnet Hathaway.
Kylington reflected following the game about the feeling of his first NHL goal – and unlike Mark Jankowski’s “off the pants” goal last season, Kylington’s was a picturesque shot.
“Amazing feeling,” said Kylington. “I think it’s the first time I touched the puck there. So when I got it off my stick, I had a good feeling. And then I saw the puck at the back of the net. Happy feeling, obviously.”
After spending much of last season playing with Olympic medalist Cody Goloubef, Kylington spent Saturday night alongside former Stockton Heat teammate Dalton Prout. Kylington played 15:34, second-least among defenders (ahead of only Prout), but he had two points, two shots and a plus-two rating.
Depth gains and line shuffling
The first question of Bill Peters’ post-game press conference was regarding the strong performance of the call-ups from the Heat.
“Did they win tonight?” joked Peters (they did, actually). “I agree, it was a real good night. I think guys settled in. I thought there was a bit of, I wouldn’t say nerves early, but a little uncertainty early, but I thought we got better in the second period and then again I thought we played better as the game went along in the third period.”
Peters noted that a lot of the team seemed to step up in the absence of Giordano and Mikael Backlund, thought it seemingly took until midway through the game for the Flames to find their stride offensively.
“Somebody has to pick up Backs’ minutes, ’cause he touches the game in every aspect, so that changes things a little bit. Same as Gio,” said Peters of his team’s adjustments. “So I thought the guys did a good job with the opportunities they were given, I thought everybody did a real good job. We shuffled the deck a little bit after 20 and moreso to get guys into better positions, where we think they’re better.”
The Flames head to Edmonton for a Battle of Alberta rematch on Sunday night sitting in first place in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) December 9, 2018