Game Takes: Oilers 3 Flames 0

October 4th, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Deja Vu?

Last season the Flames walked into the new Rogers Place with two new goaltenders and some high hopes for a new season but fell by three goals to the Edmonton Oilers with Connor McDavid leading the way.

This year the team is bolstered by two new goaltenders once again, and once again they lost by three goals, once again Connor McDavid led the way this time with three goals instead of two.

If you want to find a difference though, look no further than in the cage, where this time a solid team wasn’t let down by goaltending, instead a goaltender was let down by a team. The Flames were thoroughly outplayed but Mike Smith was more than equal to the task and doing his part.

A sluggish pre season has led to a sluggish start for the Flames, it must be October in Calgary.

The Flow

The Oilers had the play from the start, something you’d expect for a home opener, but the Flames did a pretty decent job of weathering the storm and keeping the game scoreless. McDavid splits the D on Brodie and Hamilton and gets a great chance on Mike Smith, but Smith is rock solid in tossing out the left pad and taking a sure goal away from McDavid. The Oilers do open the scoring when a combination of Brodie, Hamonic and Brouwer lose their man leaving McDavid open and a 1-0 lead on a rebound; Smith with no chance. The Flames get a powerplay and don’t get much done until the second unit comes out and continues to press after the penalty expires. The Flames kill an Oiler penalty late and it’s 1-0 after one.

The second was all Edmonton, at least for the first half of the period, but Mike Smith was a wall, keeping the Flames in it. Smith makes save after save, many through traffic and the score remains 1-0 Edmonton. Micheal Ferland wraps the net and sets up Sean Monahan for a great chance that goes off the blocker of Talbot and then up his shoulder and over the net. The Flames do manage to settle things down in the second half of the period, showing some signs of life as the game goes to the third with a one goal margin.

The Flames seem more settled in the third but very little changes as the Oilers keep their visitors at bay with very little by way of scoring chances. The Oilers make it 2-0 when Micheal Ferland turns the puck over 192 feet from Smith leaving a Connor McDavid jetting away from everyone and beating Smith short side. The Flames pull the goalie late and have a chance or two, but it’s a Milan Lucic forecheck that results in a Connor McDavid empty netter for a hat trick and a 3-0 win for the Oilers.

Possession Stats

1st Period – Shot attempts 26-19 for the Oilers five on five, and 32-22 overall. .
2nd Period – Same share in the second, as the Oilers have a 24-17 edge five on five and 25-18 overall.
3rd Period – Oilers continue to roll along with 21-16 five on five, with no penalties in the third period.

Players – Ironically the Flames top line and top defensive pairing were all +50% Corsi on the night despite not getting a whole lot done. Every other player was under water however. The worst was Tanner Glass (that will go over well) at 24%, Stone was next at 35%, then Bennett, Stajan, Brouwer, Bartkowski and Brodie.
Three Stars
1. Connor McDavid: Pretty extraordinary night from an extraordinary player with a empty net assisted hat trick to sweep the scoreboard on the night.
2. Mike Smith : Was kind of nice of the Flames to work Mike Smith into Flames colours by giving him an Arizona like evening. You wouldn’t want the poor goaltender to suffer culture shock by giving him an easy night.
3. Cam Talbot : Wasn’t tested all that much, but pitched a shut out nonetheless.

Big Save

Great save by Cam Talbot on Sean Monahan in the second. Ferland wraps the net and feeds it across the crease to Monahan who one times it only to have Talbot get his blocker then shoulder on the puck as it deflects over the net and out of harms way. Flames score there and it’s 1-1 in the second.

The Goat

The vaunted second pairing fizzled miserably in game one together as Travis Hamonic and TJ Brodie were both -3 on the night, victimized by all three McDavid goals. The third line of Sam Bennett, Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer were all -2.

Mr. Clutch

Mike Smith. So much concern over the latest incantation of Calgary goaltending, but Mike Smith was simply huge tonight in making the game an issue late into the third period.

Odds and Ends

The Flames may have been in Edmonton, but they left Craig Conroy behind in Calgary to just as he did with Johnny Gaudreau a few years ago; deliver a player to the Saddledome. At 3.30pm this afternoon the Flames ushered in what is likely a brief Jagr Era with a press conference to welcome #68 to the Flames. The likeable vet said all the right things including not wanting to play until he feels it would be good for the team and thanking the Flames twice for giving him the opportunity. When asked about his game 57 he knocked on the table for luck and didn’t want to discuss the future. Game by game. Some of his best work was on the radio where he mentioned a run in with Tim Hunter in the ’89 Flames European trip, and then later said “You can’t bullshit nobody” about playing in a hockey market. If you want to talk technical, his explanation of a conversation with Huberdeau and Barkov in Florida was a highlight; to paraphrase he told the youngsters that playing one on one is hard, but playing together means you can possess the puck and create scoring chances. Great stuff …. Don’t get why Glen Gulutzan would ever have the fourth line on the ice with the third defense pairing, the Flames have too many options to put yourself in that type of situation. Truth be known they got through it just fine, and it was the Bennett line that got victimised with the first period goal, but why put the opposition in such an advantaged situation? … Can’t say enough about Mike Smith’s play in the season opener, the guy was an absolute rock. The Flames didn’t play very well as their bumpy exhibition schedule spilled into their regular season, but Smith held them in it. Last year in game one the Flames actually played quite well but didn’t get the goaltending; chalk this one up to the opposite. … Hamonic and Brodie got worked, but where to place the blame? By Corsi stats Hamonic was better than Brodie, but both had really tough nights. Sometimes it’s timing, as the pairing twice got caught on the ice with the third line that also had a rough night. I wouldn’t split them up, but I may keep them with the top line and the 3M line until they get the chinks worked out.

Next Up

The Flames open the home section of their season on Saturday night at the Saddledome when they host the Winnipeg Jets. Game time 8pm on Sportsnet One.


Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland
Versteeg – Bennett – Brouwer
Glass – Stajan – Hathaway

Giordano – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone


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