Before I go rip half of the Calgary Flames a new one I want to say one thing. Full marks to the Edmonton Oilers for a quality 4-0 win over the Flames last night to open the season. Also congratulations to Jordan Eberle on his first NHL goal in the game. His first may be the goal of the year so far!
Alright lets get to what the heck happened from a Flames standpoint. After running perfect through the pre season you could almost sense a let down was coming. And in the first period the Flames were flat and the speedy Oilers were all over them had it not been for the heroics of Miikka Kiprusoff in the first and Olli Jokinen stealing what would have been Taylor Hall’s first NHL goal, it could have easily been 4-0 after one. Fortunately for the Flames they got out of the first only down one.
In the second period the Flames looked like the team most of expected. They completely dominated the Oilers but could not generate much in the way of quality chances despite firing 18 shots on Nikolai Khabibulin. Other than not getting to the net and creating some dirty chances the Flames would have to be pleased with the second period.
The wheels fell off early for the Flames in the third. As just a minute and half into the 3rd period Jordan Eberle got a short handed breakaway and just made a dazzling move on Kiprusoff going backhand roof to make it 2-0 and that really took the wind out of the Flames sails. 79 seconds later Ales Hemsky boomed a slap shot 13 hole right between Miikka’s body and arm to make it 3-0 on one that Kiprusoff should have had but it wasn’t what you would call a bad goal. Soon after Shawn Horcoff tipped in a Eberle wrister for his first of the year to finish the games scoring. 4-0 is your final nd the Flames start the season with a road loss.
The top line was a gong show for the Flames. The ‘everyone pass to Jarome’ plan was in full effect and the Oilers just shadowed Iginla and he was held pretty much ineffective all game. Jokinen was solid in his own end but again needs to start shooting more. Tanguay actually had a decent game passing, and did a reasonable job on the penalty kill.
Brendan Morrison looked totally out of sync with Bourque and Hagman and I still do not understand why Mikael Backlund is not playing with those two. Bourque had an edge last night at least and looks ready to play this year. Brett Sutter may have been the Flames best forward last night he was hitting, getting to loose pucks, dropped the gloves and helped create some chances. Also a scary moment late in the third when Raitis Ivanans was knocked out in one of those send a message fights late in the game. Calling Brian McGratten you could be needed in Calgary! Lets hope Raitis isn’t hurt too bad but I have to guess he’ll have some sort of concussion and could be out a while.
On the back end Pardy was god awful. Stupid penalties and looked slow. I suspect Cory Sarich will be in the lineup next game in his spot. Jay Bouwmeester was not good either, and I hate to say it but Mike Peca may be right about Bouwmeester because he was SOFT all night. You don’t have to run a guy through the boards but you do have to finish your checks. TJ Brodie made a pinching mistake that led to the Eberle goal but other than that he looks like he belongs in the NHL. Robyn Regher was also solid. Robyn looked mean all night and crushed a few Oilers. White and Giordano were distinctly average.
Miikka Kiprusoff needs to make the save on the Hemsky goal that made it 3-0 but I can’t complain about how he played as he did hold the team in early.
Next up for the Flames is the home opener against the Los Angeles Kings Sunday night! I suspect the Flames will come out flying in this one.
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!