Calgary Flames Post-Game: Locals clobber Canucks in exhibition curtain-raiser

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
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The Calgary Flames welcomed the Vancouver Canucks to town on Sunday evening to begin each club’s exhibition calendar. The Flames, being the home team, dressed many of their expected regulars. The Canucks, being the travelling team, brought some AHL bodies and players battling for NHL depth spots. On paper, it looked like a mismatch.
It was.
The Flames beat Vancouver by a score of 10-0.

The rundown

The Flames had some jump early on and got out to a fairly early lead. Jordan Oesterle flung a puck from the left point. The shot glanced off the stick of Canucks forward Sheldon Dries, then off the skate off Canucks defender Jett Woo, and past Canucks goaltender Arturs Silovs to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The Flames’ power play got onto the ice a little later. The top unit couldn’t cash in, but the second group managed to get on the board, albeit slightly after the Canucks’ power play expired. Connor Zary and Matt Coronato battled for a puck in the offensive zone, leading to the Canucks attempting an exit up the wall. Dillon Dube intercepted it and fed Noah Hanifin at the left point. Coronato headed to the net-front area, tipped the puck on Silovs, then fired the rebound over the goaltender to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
The Flames got another power play a little later, and the first unit cashed in. Jonathan Huberdeau accepted a pass from the side boards from Nazem Kadri, toe-dragged around a sliding Noah Juulsen, and beat Silovs top corner to give the Flames a 3-0 lead.
The Flames made it 4-0 a little while later, as Kadri scored a beauty. Kadri accepted a pass from Adam Ruzicka and circled behind the net. As he emerged from below the goal line, pursued by Juulsen, Kadri stopped, turned and chucked a backhander over the short-side shoulder of Silovs.
The deluge continued in the second period.
After Huberdeau briefly left the game after a knee-on-knee collision with Matt Irwin, he and Kadri had a two-on-one rush after Kadri walked around a Canucks defender in the neutral zone. Huberdeau’s one-timer feed from Kadri beat Silovs to make it 5-0.
A little later, Dryden Hunt’s forecheck led to a big defensive zone turnover from Juulsen. Hunt fed Coronato and he buried it past Silovs to go up 6-0.
A little later, Rasmus Andersson entered the Canucks zone on the rush and fired a shot across the zone. It bonked off the far side-boards and Noah Hanifin leaned into it with a slap shot that picked the corner past Silovs to make it 7-0.
The Flames kept the deluge going in the third period.
On a power play, Connor Zary received a set-up in the net-front area from Adam Ruzicka and the initial stop was made by Canucks netminder Zach Sawchenko, but Zary fired his own rebound into the open net to go up 8-0.
After a nice bit of puck protection and battling below the Canucks red line, Coronato fed teammate Ben Jones near the face-off dot and his quick wrister picked the far corner on Sawchenko to make it 9-0 Flames.
Coronato finished off his hat trick to make it 10-0 later on in the third period, just after a Flames power play expired.
10 goals turned out to be enough and the Flames held on for the victory.

Why the Flames won

Remember the classic The Simpsons episode “Homer’s Enemy,” where Frank Grimes goes nuts because Homer Simpson enters the power plant’s model contest (which is intended for children) and easily wins the contest? Well, that was this game. Yeah, Vancouver brought their B-team. And the Flames beat them handily.
The power play looked strong. The penalty kill was effective. Five-on-five, the Flames were dangerous in the offensive end and didn’t make many big miscues in their own end. Their goaltending was effective when it had to be.
We’re not going to litigate a 9-0 win in the pre-season against the Abbotsford Canucks, but the Flames beat an inferior opponent and looked good doing it.
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Red Warrior

Joint award! Coronato had a hat trick. Kadri and Hanifin had three points apiece. Huberdeau had two goals.
But a lot of players in red looked pretty good. It was that type of outing.

Turning point

The Flames went up 3-0 just 8:43 into the first period off a very nice power play goal from Huberdeau. At that point, the Canucks probably sensed that this would be a long, long night at the office.

This and that

Here’s roughly how the special teams units looked:
Power Play:
  • First Unit: Kadri – Huberdeau / Lindholm / Sharangovich – Andersson
  • Second Unit: Dube – Coronato – Zary – Ruzicka – Hanifin
Penalty Kill:
  • Forward Pairs: Lindholm/Sharangovich, Dube/Hunt, Jones/Coronato
  • The three defensive pairs rotated through normally.
Dennis Gilbert fought Matt Irwin in the first period. In the middle of the second period, Gilbert was hit by Canucks forward Nils Höglander and Gilbert went awkwardly into the end boards (landing head/shoulder first on the ice). He had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return.
Huberdeau collided knee-on-knee with Irwin in the second period and briefly left the game – a couple times – but he finished the game and didn’t seem to miss much time.
Coronato and Adam Klapka were the only Flames players that dressed for Vancouver’s 7-1 win over Calgary in Penticton last weekend and Calgary’s revenge win in this contest.

Up next

The Flames are back at it tomorrow with a pair of games against the Seattle Kraken. One group of Flames faces the Kraken at the ‘Dome at 7 p.m. MT, while another group of Flames heads to the Emerald City to face the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena at 8 p.m. MT.

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