It was a goal from Brandon Prust, assisted by Fredrik Sjostrom and Eric Nystrom.
That goal from Prust, which took place on Oct. 1, 2009, was the last game-winning goal by a Calgary Flames player in a season opener. It came against the Vancouver Canucks, and was the fourth goal in what would end up being a 5-3 victory.
The only current Flame who was with the team back then was Mark Giordano. He played his part in the win, opening the scoring with a power play goal and then later assisting on a goal by Rene Bourque.
It’s been a while. In fact, the Flames have the longest active season-opener losing streak.
|Season||Opponent||Home or Away?||Result|
|2010-11||Edmonton Oilers||Away||0-4 loss|
|2011-12||Pittsburgh Penguins||Home||3-5 loss|
|2012-13||San Jose Sharks||Home||1-4 loss|
|2013-14||Washington Capitals||Away||4-5 shootout loss|
|2014-15||Vancouver Canucks||Home||2-4 loss|
|2015-16||Vancouver Canucks||Home||1-5 loss|
|2016-17||Edmonton Oilers||Away||4-7 loss|
|2017-18||Edmonton Oilers||Away||0-3 loss|
|2018-19||Vancouver Canucks||Away||2-5 loss|
That’s not pretty. A 0-8-1 record for season openers during the 2010s is not ideal. It admittedly set the tone for some very long seasons, as the Flames would only go on to make the playoffs during three of those seasons.
Five different goalies have been used in season openers, dating back to Miikka Kiprusoff watching Nikolai Khabibulin shut the Flames out to start the losing streak. Since then, Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, Brian Elliott, and Mike Smith all have losses to open the campaign. Karri Ramo got the closest to winning, as the 2013-14 Flames blew a 3-0 lead in Washington to lose in a shootout.
What’s even worse? It doesn’t look better when digging deeper into season openers. The only other season-opening win the Flames have this millennium is from the 2001-02 campaign, when Marc Savard scored in the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Edmonton. Roman Turek collected the win.
The last time the Flames started consecutive seasons with a win was back in the campaigns following their Stanley Cup win, in 1990-91 and 1991-92. Sufficed to say, this has never been a strength of theirs.
However, if you’re looking for a bright spot for tonight, there are a few things to cling to. The first is that David Rittich will be on the ice for his first season opener, as goaltending has been an issue during this decade. The second is that this losing streak is nowhere near as daunting as that Anaheim one once was, and that’s now a thing of the past!
Perhaps most of all, there is nothing that truly carries over from season to season that suggests that this trend must continue. Hockey is a fickle game, and anything can happen.
If the Flames should lose in Colorado tonight, they can take solace that they get a chance to make it right Saturday night. They lost game one last year. They still won the Western Conference.
And truly, the best part about this all? Hockey is back.
Go Flames go.