During a long hockey season, there will be nights where a hockey club is out-matched and out-gunned. On those occasions, having a calm, reliable goaltender is a huge plus. On Friday evening, the Calgary Flames headed north to Edmonton to face most of the Oilers’ best and brightest.
Dan Vladar held the Flames in a game where they were largely out-played. The Flames lost to the Oilers 2-1 in an exhibition game that was way closer on the scoreboard than it had any right to be.

Who was playing?

The Flames brought a few regulars from Wednesday night’s game with them up to Edmonton, mixing in a bunch of bubble bodies throughout the lineup.
Jonathan Huberdeau [A] – Adam Ruzicka – Tyler Toffoli [A]
Dillon Dube – Kevin Rooney – Cody Eakin
Connor Zary – Cole Schwindt – Sonny Milano
Mitch McLain – Clark Bishop – Walker Duehr
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Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson [A]
Connor Mackey – Michael Stone
Juuso Valimaki – Nicolas Meloche
Dan Vladar started for the Flames, backed up by Dustin Wolf.

How did they do?

The Oilers played their top guns, many of them getting their first pre-season action. Between last change and lineup superiority, the Oilers carried played for much of the game.
But give the Flames credit: they battled and didn’t just concede this game.
Edmonton opened the scoring, though, on a Flames power play. Kailer Yamamoto battled behind the Flames net, winning a puck battle against Michael Stone and Juuso Valimaki, then putting a past just past Dan Vladar’s out-stretched stuck and right to Leon Draisaitl for the tap-in to make it 1-0 Oilers.
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But the Flames’ second line did a nice job pressuring the Oilers and that led to some puck management issues and a Flames goal. After an initial point shot missed the net, it bounced around behind the net. Kevin Rooney and Cody Eakin pressured the Oilers defenders, leading to a poor Darnell Nurse play of the puck into the slot right to Dillon Dube. He beat Jack Campbell to tie the game up at 1-1.
The Oilers re-established the lead midway through the third period. The Flames couldn’t cash in on a power play and Luke Esposito went on a skate into the Flames zone after the penalty expired. He fed Brett Kulak at the point and with a few bodies in-between, Kulak’s shot eluded Vladar and gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead.
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The Oilers held on for the 2-1 victory.

Who looked good?

Vladar was easily the best Flame, as he was the only reason the game was quite as close as it was. He was credited with 36 saves. Coming on a day where head coach Darryl Sutter referred to the goaltending as an organizational strength, he was proven correct by Vladar’s superb showing.
For the gentlemen not wearing cool masks and pads, the trio of Dube, Rooney and Eakin showed well, particularly Dube (who was a play-driver all game long). Among the depth defenders, Meloche and Mackey both looked quite solid throughout this one. Nobody looked particularly “bad” of the bubble guys, but Stone and Valimaki were victimized on the first Edmonton goal (though they both made nice plays later to make up for that lapse), Milano didn’t really stand out on his line, and Ruzicka didn’t really generate as much offensively as you would hope he would playing with the club’s first-line wingers.
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This and that

Mitch McLain fought Darnell Nurse in the third period. Twice.

Up next

The Flames are off tomorrow and additional cuts are possible. They are back in pre-season action on Monday night when they host the Seattle Kraken.