Looking back on the Calgary Flames at the 2011 Heritage Classic

Photo credit:Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
The 2023 Heritage Classic will be the third time in Calgary Flames history that they’ve played an outdoor game. The first instance was back in 2011, when the Flames hosted the second edition of the Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium against the Montreal Canadiens.
Here’s a quick jaunt down memory lane.

The lines

Here’s what head coach Brent Sutter used in February 2011:
Alex Tanguay – Brendan Morrison – Jarome Iginla [C]
Curtis Glencross – Olli Jokinen – David Moss
Rene Bourque – Matt Stajan – Tim Jackman
Niklas Hagman – Mikael Backlund – Tom Kostopoulos
Jay Bouwmeester [A] – Robyn Regehr [A]
Mark Giordano – Cory Sarich
Steve Staios – Anton Babchuk
Miikka Kiprusoff
(Henrik Karlsson)
The healthy scratch for the Flames was blueliner Brendan Mikkelson, the brother of current Sportsnet radio broadcaster (and three-time Olympic medallist) Meaghan Mikkelson. Three Flames missed the game due to being on the injury reserve list: forwards Daymond Langkow and Raitis Ivanans, and defender Adam Pardy.
Current Flames general manager Craig Conroy was no longer an active player at this point, having retired just two weeks beforehand to move into Flames management.
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The rundown

The game was played on a sunny, but cold, February day, and the temperatures were so low (starting at minus-9 and dropping during the game) that it wasn’t possible to use a Zamboni to flood the ice – the ice was too brittle due to the conditions – and had to be flooded manually instead. The sun went down by the beginning of the third period and the wind picked up a bit, making things even colder for the fans in attendance.
The Flames scored first and never trailed in the game. Rene Bourque scored on a five-on-three power play – with P.K. Subban and Hal Gill in the box – midway through the first period to give Calgary a 1-0.
The Flames scored twice in the second period; Anton Babchuk scored shorthanded (with Jay Bouwmeester penalized) to make it 2-0. A couple minutes later, back at even strength, Bourque added a second goal to make it 3-0.
In the third period, on another power play due to a penalty to Roman Hamrlik, the Flames made it 4-0 on a goal by Alex Tanguay.
The two teams combined for 76 shots: 39 from Montreal and 37 from the Flames. Kiprusoff made 39 saves for the first outdoor shutout in NHL history. The Flames out-scored Montreal in every game situation, but the Canadiens out-shot them 35-27 at five-on-five. (The Flames had a distinct special teams edge in shots at 10-4, and they out-scored the Habs on special teams 3-0.)
In addition to the NHL outdoor game, an alumni game and Western Hockey League game were played on McMahon Stadium’s ice, while the American Hockey League affiliates of the Flames and Oilers, the Abbotsford Heat and the Oklahoma City Barons, played a game at the Saddledome.
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