McGrattan did not get penalized this time as he saluted the crowd when he was introduced in the Flames lineup during the first game in Calgary. The excitement was overwhelming, the jerseys were worn with pride, and our happy hockey family was together again as Flames fans converged inside the newly restored Saddledome to celebrate the Calgary Flames home opener. Even Theo Fleury was in attendance, signing autographs before the game. The Flames were introduced during their opening ceremony and they honoured everyone involved with the restoration of the Saddledome. It was an emotional night for every fan as we watched our hockey heroes skate out onto home ice and salute the community of people who have helped with the restoration and who appreciate their favourite game.
Calgary Flames out of the Gates
It seems to be a new tradition for the Flames to start out strong and put a lot of pressure on the opponent in order to send a message that they are there to win. During a nasty turnover by Calgary, Vancouver stole the puck and opened the scoring. Although the Flames looked disoriented momentarily, they quickly regained their strength as Bouma took off down the ice on a partial breakaway. No goal was scored but that didn’t stop the team from taking shot after shot at the Canucks net, Monahan and Garliardi among them. Eventually, one of those shots on net made it through as Giordano got his first goal of the season with the assist give to David Jones and Curtis Glencross. The first period ended with a score of 1-1.
Bouma received a questionable tripping penalty in the second period, but luckily, no goals were scored for the opposition. It was an evenly matched game when the Flames gained a PP but couldn’t score. Before I realized what had happened, Backlund took the puck down the ice on a breakaway and scored, putting the Flames up 2-1. Even when one of the Sedins received a goalie interference penalty, Calgary still couldn’t score on our PP. Eddie Lack was a brick wall in net for the Canucks and refused to allow any goals for the Flames (flashback to Holtby vs Bruins playoff series in 2012). Galiardi drew a penalty and put Calgary on the PP but no goals were scored again. The second period ended with a score of 2-1 Flames.
The beginning of the third period portrayed just how good of a player 18 year old Monahan truly is. Because of his patience, intelligence, and mature perspective on the ice, he scored his second goal of the season during his third game for Calgary. But having a two goal lead didn’t last long as Vancouver struck back with another goal. Their relentless pressure on our net seemed too much for our defense and the Canucks soon tied the game at 3-3. MacDonald, with a couple stellar saves, kept the Flames in the game during regulation time and the period ended in a tie.
Overtime was all Vancouver because the Flames seemed to have struggled with 4 on 4 play. And the fatal moment happened when Wideman missed couldn’t connect his hipcheck, which led Bieksa to score the winning goal.
Calgary Flames – My 1 Star
TJ Galiardi. He drew a well-timed penalty in third period and put the Flames on a PP, he had an assist on Backlund’s goal in the second period, and he tallied a +1 rating during the course of the game. He seems to be getting more comfortable playing on the Flames and seems to be putting in more work and effort with each game.
Maybe I can’t seem to get over the idea that Kiprusoff is retired, or maybe I’m just leaning in favour of Kari Ramo, but, in spite of the great saves MacDonald made in the third period, I can’t seem to get on the MacD train yet. He’s a good goalie – I’m not saying he isn’t, but my instincts are telling me that he may not be what this team needs yet. He starts in net again tonight and I will keep an open mind in hopes that he can keep up the good work in net.
For the most part, the Flames have played a lot better in their first few games than I have seen in many years. They are fearless, diving head-first into every play. They shake off the negatives relatively quickly and refocus on the task at hand. But there is still some work to do.
Our special teams need work. Of all the power-plays that we had, not one goal was scored and they seem to have gotten worse rather than better. Our defense at the end of each game also needs work. They seem to be falling back into their tradition of letting the D go by the third period. As well, the forwards need to step up and take over their defensive play when our D players can’t.
Tonight, the Flames host the Habs. I think our speedy offense will be key to winning this game. Montreal has a strong defense and a great goalie. Yes, that’s right – I think Carey Price is a good goalie. He reads plays, he remains calm in net, and, at times, his natural skill makes goaltending look easy. It seems to me that the Flames are going to have to dig deep to win tonight’s tilt against the Montreal Canadiens. I think the Flames energy, youth, speed, and abundance of shots on net could win this game. There’s an underlying urgency to win in Calgary this year and there’s no better time to let that play out on the ice than tonight.
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