They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The Calgary Flames began their 2022-23 pre-season schedule with a pair of victories over the Vancouver Canucks, set one hour and one province apart.
In Vancouver, a Flames group light on stars beat several of Vancouver’s regulars 3-2 in overtime. In Calgary, a Flames group heavy on regulars beat Vancouver’s depth squad 4-0.
Who was playing?
In Vancouver, the Flames sent a very fourth-line and third-pairing-heavy grouping to play Vancouver’s regulars.
@Milan Lucic [A] – @Kevin Rooney – @Brett Ritchie
@Martin Pospisil – @Adam Ruzicka – @Trevor Lewis [A]
@Jakob Pelletier – @Cole Schwindt – @Matthew Phillips
@Mitch McLain – @Ben Jones – @Adam Klapka
@Nikita Zadorov – @Nicolas Meloche
@Juuso Valimaki – @Michael Stone
@Dennis Gilbert – @Nick DeSimone
@Dustin Wolf started in Vancouver and went the distance, backed up by @Daniil Chechelev.
The Flames kept most of their regulars in Calgary to face a Canucks group mostly comprised of Abbotsford Canucks hopefuls:
@Jonathan Huberdeau – @Elias Lindholm [A] – @Tyler Toffoli
@Dillon Dube – @Mikael Backlund [A] – @Blake Coleman
@Sonny Milano – @Connor Zary – @Cody Eakin
@Brett Sutter – @Clark Bishop – @Walker Duehr
@Noah Hanifin – @Rasmus Andersson
@Connor Mackey – @MacKenzie Weegar
@Jeremie Poirier – @Colton Poolman
@Daniel Vladar started in Calgary, backed up by @Oscar Dansk. Vladar played two periods and Dansk mopped up in the third.
How did they do?
In the early game in Vancouver, the fledgling Flames looked pretty good all-told and survived a late push from the Canucks to win in overtime.
In the first period, Mitch McLain (in camp on an AHL cotnract) won a neutral zone puck battle and executed a nice little give-and-go sequence with Emilio Pettersen, ending with McLain chipping the puck past Spencer Martin to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, a similarly dogged effort from McLain’s group resulted in a second goal. McLain had the puck in the offensive zone and made the simple play from a bad angle, flinging the puck at the net. Ben Jones jumped on the loose rebound, from an even worse angle, and flung the puck at Martin, bouncing it off the netminder and into the net to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
The Canucks made a push in the third period to even things up. They crashed the net-front area and Vasily Podkolzin jammed a rebound past Dustin Wolf to cut the lead to 2-1.
Later on, with the goaltender pulled, Elias Pettersson set up Conor Garland and Garland beat Wolf to tie the game at 2-2 and set things to overtime.
But Vancouver took a penalty in overtime, and a nice passing play from Jakob Pelletier to Matthew Phillips was finished off by Michael Stone, who blasted the puck past Martin to give the Flames a 3-2 win.
In the late game in Calgary, the Flames were very solid throughout the game.
Neither team scored in the first period.
In the second period, a bunch of successive penalties for both teams resulted in a prolonged Flames five-on-three. Jonathan Huberdeau attempted to make a back-pass across the crease to Tyler Toffoli. But the puck bounced off Collin Delia’s skate and back to Huberdeau, who simply put the puck into the open net to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
A little later, Mikael Backlund created a turnover by challenging the puck-carrier on an attempted zone exit. Backlund’s initial scoring chance led to rebounds and chaos, and Cody Eakin poked the loose puck into the open net to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
Later in the second period, with the Flames on the power play, Backlund found Blake Coleman in the high slot. Coleman took advantage of the extra space, skated to the top of the circles, and fired the puck past Delia to make it 3-0 Flames.
Brett Sutter jammed in a rebound on a late power play to give the Flames a 4-0 victory.
Who looked good?
In Vancouver, among the standouts were Matthew Phillips, Mitch McLain, Adam Klapka and Dustin Wolf.
In Calgary, those impressing included: Daniel Vladar, Jeremie Poirier, Mikael Backlund, Connor Zary and Jonathan Huberdeau.
This and that
Special teams units in Calgary:
- PP1: Huberdeau-Lindholm-Toffoli-Hanifin-Andersson
- PP2: Dube-Backlund-Coleman-Poirier-Weegar
- PK1: Backlund-Lindholm-Hanifin-Andersson
- PK2: Coleman-Dube-Mackey-Weegar
Adam Klapka fought Vincent Arseneau in Vancouver.
The Flames are back in pre-season action on Tuesday night when they head to the Emerald City to visit the Seattle Kraken.