Pre-Season Post-Game: Oilers spoil Flames pre-season opener

Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
The Calgary Flames began their pre-season schedule on Sunday night and welcomed fans to the Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time in 18 months. A half-full Saddledome was treated to an outing the home team would probably prefer to forget, as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Flames by a 4-0 score.

The rundown

Neither team scored in the opening period, but Edmonton out-shot the Flames 13-5. Neither team had any really exciting scoring chances and both teams looked rusty – a lot of passes were missing their mark by a few feet and neither team looked particularly sharp.
A few minutes into the second period, the Oilers broke the deadlock. James Hamblin snuck behind the Flames defenders to retrieve a flip-pass into Calgary’s zone, then out-deked Daniel Vladar and tucked it behind him to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Right after Edmonton scored, Milan Lucic tried to inject some emotion into things by engaging in some physicality with Devin Shore. Shore declined and Lucic was instead injected into the penalty box for a four minute penalty. During the first minor, the Oilers took advantage of an errant puck play by Erik Gudbranson and Derek Ryan jammed in a loose rebound to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
After the Flames changed up goaltenders midway through, their fortunes didn’t improve. They got a bit sloppy in their own zone and the visitors took advantage. Ryan found Xavier Bourgault all alone by the near face-off dot and he cranked a shot just inside the far post past Adam Werner. That made it 3-0 Oilers.
The Oilers made it 4-0 before the end of the second period. Gudbranson was robbed of the puck inside the offensive blueline by Brandon Perlini. Perlini skated the length of the ice and his partial breakaway chance was stopped by Werner, but Perlini buried his own rebound.
Shots were 21-6 Oilers in the second period.
The Flames didn’t have a massive push in the third period, and the visiting side seemed content to run out the clock and leave town with a dress rehearsal victory.

Why the Flames lost

There are a few reasons:
  • They generated virtually nothing in the offensive zone.
  • Their defensive zone play was shaky and prone to turnovers.
  • They took too many penalties, especially in their own zone, and gave the Oilers skill players way too many reps with the puck early on.

Red warrior

Vladar made 21 saves and looked really impressive behind a team that looked, to be kind, somewhat unimpressive.

The turning point

The Flames looked a step behind for much of this one, but it really got away from them during a 80 second span in the second period. Hamblin scored, Lucic took a double minor and then Ryan scored, and suddenly the Flames are down 2-0 and chasing for the rest of the game.

This and that

For the curious, the Flames’ lines for the evening:
Dube – Backlund – Pitlick
Lucic – Richardson – Lewis
Pelletier – Gawdin – Phillips
Pospisil – Ruzicka – Ritchie
Zadorov – Andersson
Valimaki – Gudbranson
Mackey – Welinski
Mikael Backlund and Milan Lucic wore the As as alternate captains for the game. Tyler Pitlick left the game early in the second period after suffering a lower body injury.
Edmonton dressed mostly an AHL-bound group, along with some depth NHLers like Derek Ryan, Kyle Turris, Evan Bouchard and William Lagesson.

Up next

The Flames, or some of them at least (likely the ones who didn’t play tonight), hop on a plane and fly to Abbotsford tomorrow. They’ll visit the Vancouver Canucks in more pre-season action. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. MT.

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