The Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers faced off in one of the best games of the young 2022–23 regular season on Saturday afternoon, with the Flames ultimately prevailing after a shootout by a 5–4 final score.
As everyone is fully aware by now, the Flames and Panthers collaborated on a stunning blockbuster trade back in July that saw Matthew Tkachuk head to the Sunshine State in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a first-round pick.
Fittingly, the two biggest pieces of the deal went head-to-head in Saturday’s shootout. With the Flames trailing 1–0 in the skills competition as they came up to bat in the bottom of the second round, Huberdeau took to the ice looking to stick it to his old team.
Did he ever.
Huberdeau didn’t record a point in Saturday’s game, but he threw three hits, fired two shots, and finished the game a plus-one. He also made an excellent play on the forecheck to help create Blake Coleman’s go-ahead goal in the third period.
So, the Flames’ prized off-season acquisition scored to tie the shootout at one goal apiece. Would the Panthers’ new superstar respond in kind?
Tkachuk swung wide to the right on his shootout attempt before winding up for a slap shot. A bold move, to be sure … but it didn’t pay off, as Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom reached out and snagged the puck in his glove.
Then, No. 25 in the white, red, and yellow gave his old teammate a good old-fashioned staredown.
Mikael Backlund, Tkachuk’s old linemate, had the opportunity to win the shootout in the bottom of the third round, but Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight was up to the task.
Markstrom wouldn’t allow another goal, though. He stopped Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe on consecutive attempts before Rasmus Andersson came through to win the shootout in the fifth round.
Perhaps Saturday’s game will be the start of an inter-conference rivalry between the Flames and Panthers. Guess what? Tkachuk and the Panthers will be at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 29 — just 10 days from now.
We’re already excited.