And just like that, the Calgary Flames slip to 0-2 in the pre-season.
I think that everyone agrees that pre-season records mean very little. I mean you can’t even find stats on players at this time of year. That said, it’s fun to have hockey back and to get a bit of a glipse into what the future looks like for the Flaming ‘C.’
Calgary 2 at Edmonton 4
Calgary was leading this game 2-1 heading into the third period, but gave up three unanswered goals in the final frame to drop the first game of the pre-season. Oliver Kylington and centre Markus Granlund scored for Calgary, while Connor McDavid has two assists in the Oiler win. Because I wasn’t there to witness the game, most of what I’m going from is the NHL’s recap of the game.
Edmonton 3 and Calgary 1
The Flames were tied at the second intermission, but like the game three hours north they gave up a couple late goals to drop the second game of the night. In Calgary, the Flames iced a seasoned NHL team, which included arguably the best starting line-up in the NHL: Hudler – Monahan – Gaudreau and Brodie – Girodano. In addition to these five, Hiller started in net (replaced later by Ortio) as well as Hamilton, Frolik, Stajan, Raymond, Ferland and Bennett all played.
So who stood out, you ask?
The top line of Monahan, Gaudreau and Hudler looked to be nearly game-ready, as you would expect. Giordano looked like he hadn’t missed a step, there was one shift where he blocked two shots within seconds of each other earning him a standing ovation — in a pre-season game no less! Frolik was all over the place, scoring a goal, drawing a penalty shot and recording six shots. Hamilton started out slow taking a couple penalties early on, but seemed to find his confidence in the later stages of the game. Bennett looked like he belongs in the NHL, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that he will be in the line-up Oct 7.
Ferland picked up where he left off in last-year’s playoffs, hitting guys left and right and chipping in with a shot or two. I also thought Poirier looked like he played quite strong and could have a shot at the team, but I’ve heard he’s been inconsistent throughout camp.
On the flip side, Hunter Smith (who?) was noticeable in that he gave up the puck repeatedly in his own end. For such a big guy he was soft on the puck all night, and unceremoniously left the game after being on the losing end of a fight with Darnell Nurse. Now at 6’ 4” and 205lbs Nurse is a big guy, but Smith is 6’ 7” and 208lbs. He’s a big dude. Sadly, Tyler Wotherspoon was unnoticeable. Some may argue that a stay-at-home defenseman should be, but it’s training camp and he’s going to need to show much more if he wants to become the Flames 7th d-man.
I need more time to watch guys like Kulak and Nakladal. At times I was impressed with what they showed, but I didn’t get to see enough of either of them in order to share a reasonable opinion.
Next up, the Colorado Avalanche
The game on Thursday is not on television, but you can stream it live on www.CalgaryFlames.com. Other than the two pre-season games against the Avs the remaining games are all televised. Is this a great country or what?
Also the first round of cuts should be released shortly, I’ll share those as soon as they are released. And if Hunter Smith isn’t on the list, then apparently one pre-season game isn’t enough to accurately judge a player.