Calgary Flames Game Day 1: A journey of 82 games (or more) begins against Winnipeg (8pm MT)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
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After a challenging 2022-23 season and an off-season featuring some foundational changes, the Calgary Flames (0-0-0, 0 points) are back in action and ready to kick off their 2023-24 regular season against the Winnipeg Jets (0-0-0, 0 points). Two teams battle in, depending on how you want to look at it, a clash between old Smythe Division rivals or a battle between two former Atlanta hockey clubs.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. Beware, it’s the home opener, so there will be pomp, circumstance, ballyhoo, and likely a delayed opening puck drop.

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Dube
Sharangovich – Kadri – Coronato
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Greer – Ruzicka – Duehr
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Weegar
Oesterle – Tanev
Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by Daniel Vladar. The expected scratches are Dryden Hunt and Dennis Gilbert. It’s the Flames debuts of Yegor Sharangovich, A.J. Greer and Jordan Oesterle. It’s the first NHL game as a full-time head coach for Ryan Huska and the first NHL game as GM for Craig Conroy. And Mikael Backlund’s first regular season outing as captain. A bunch of firsts!
The Flames play just three home games in October. They host the Jets on Wednesday, then head out on a five game road trip, and then return to play a pair before heading to Edmonton to close out the month with the Heritage Classic. It’s a weird month, but perhaps a bunch of road games early helps the team gel. Regardless, they’ll need to establish the Saddledome as a tough place to play – even if they don’t play a ton of games there early on.

The Jets

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Connor – Scheifele – Vilardi
Ehlers – Perfetti – Niederreiter
Iafallo – Lowry – Appleton
Barron – Kupari – Namestnikov
Connor Hellbuyck is expected to start, backed up by Laurent Brossoit. The expected scratches are David Gustafsson, Logan Stanley and Declan Chisholm.
The Jets narrowly made the playoffs last season, edging the Flames out by three points (when you factor in tiebreakers). They got rocked by Vegas in five games, went through an off-season where many openly pondered the future of the club’s key players… and then two of them – Hellebuyck and Mark Schiefele – re-signed lengthy deals the day before the regular season opened.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington, Jakob Pelletier and Kevin Rooney.
The Jets are without Ville Heinola.

The numbers

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Head to head

This is the first of three meetings between these clubs this season. They’ll meet once more in Calgary (Feb. 19) and Winnipeg (Apr. 4) this season.

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