The Calgary Flames played a game in Abbotsford on Monday night for the first time since their farm team relocated from that city in 2014. The good news is the Flames scored their first goals of the pre-season. The bad news is the Flames were second-best, again, this time in a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

The rundown

Things started out poorly for the visitors. Glenn Gawdin took an early minor and on the resulting power play, the Canucks opened the scoring. Conor Garland’s initial shot was blocked, but he grabbed the rebound and beat Adam Werner to make it 1-0 Canucks.
Later on in the period, the Canucks cashed in off a defensive miscue that turned into a two-on-one. Jonah Gadjovich found Chase Wouters wide-open in the slot. Wouters’ wrister beat Werner to make it 2-0 Canucks.
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And late in the period, on another power play, Werner made the initial stop on Bo Horvat but J.T. Miller jumped all over the loose rebound to make it 3-0 Canucks. Shots were 10-4 Canucks in the opening period.
Daniel Vladar came into the game midway through the second period in relief of Adam Werner. The period itself was much more even – shots were 8-8 – but the Flames finally found the back of the net after Vladar’s arrival.
After the Canucks took a pair of successive minor penalties, the Flames finally cashed in on a five-on-three. After some nice passing quarterbacked by Oliver Kylington, Dillon Dube fired a shot through traffic – with Brett Ritchie screening – that beat Michael Dipietro to cut Vancouver’s lead to 3-1.
Before the end of the period, the Flames cut the lead further to 3-2. Connor Mackey fired a seeing-eye wrist shot from the point – with Martin Pospisil screening – that found a way through traffic and beat Dipietro again.
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The Flames had a push in the third period, but Tanner Pearson scored with a nice short-side snipe over Vladar’s blocker to give the Canucks a 4-2 edge.

Why the Flames lost

Well, the Canucks dressed a better roster, featuring several NHL regulars. The Flames had a few NHL names in their lineup, but they were the second-best team on paper. But credit to the Canucks: sometimes veteran-laden teams coast, and instead the Canucks out-hustled the Flames and they were the best team on the ice in addition to on paper.

Red warrior

A few Flames looked pretty good, so they can share this pre-season nod: Dube, Vladar, Kylington and Andrew Mangiapane were all quite noticeable for positive reasons.

The turning point

Let’s cop out and go with the entire first period. But especially the first three minutes or so: a penalty followed shortly after by the opening goal, which led to the Flames chasing for the remainder of the game.
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This and that

For the curious, the Flames’ lines for the evening:
Mangiapane-Dube-Ritchie
Pelletier-Ruzicka-Phillips
Pospisil-Gawdin-Philp
Kirkland-Froese-Duehr
Valimaki-Stone
Kylington-Gravel
Mackey-DeSimone
It was an even more AHLish lineup than the Flames trotted out on Sunday evening in Calgary. Vancouver, for their part, dressed several NHL regulars on this occasion.
Mangiapane and Stone wore the alternate captain’s As for this game.

Up next

The Flames (0-2-0 in pre-season) return home, regroup, and then host the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night at the Saddledome. Puck drop is just after 7 p.m. MT and the game is streamed on the Flames site (and broadcast over the air on Sportsnet 960 The Fan).