Will it be a repeat of the McDavid show? Or will the Flames be able to renew the Battle of Alberta?
A few things went wrong in the opening home and home series between the Flames and Oilers. Calgary defensive lines were caught flat-footed and stale while they couldn’t generate enough offense to garner enough goals. Goaltending was also an issue as I found myself scratching my head and wondering if it’s the same sh*t just in a different pile.
On the other hand, their power play and penalty kill looked much batter than last season. With two short-handed goals by Troy Brouwer and Michael Frolik, the Flames have worked hard to build their penalty kill situations since last season. But PPs and PKs don’t necessarily win hockey games.
The Flames need a good defensive core and good pairings to ward off the intrusive young Oilers. With Connor McDavid at the helm of the Edmonton ship, the Flames defense needs to be prepared for him and his natural skills. Three strokes of the blades and McDavid is already in the oppositions zone – Giordano, Brodie, Hamilton, and Engelland need to prepare for that. And so does Gulutzan.
It seems that Coach Gulutzan learned from his opening mistake and rearranged his pairings on the blue line in the last practice. Gio and Brodie, Hamilton and Jokipakka, Wideman and Engelland were the pairings in yesterday’s practice. I hope the coach keeps those pairs together because they will solidify the blue line more than last game.
The Flames had plenty of chances on the Oilers net last game, but they couldn’t seem to capitalize on the chances they were given. The front lineups were good and I can’t complain. But they seemed desperate in pressing times.
The only thing I can say about goaltending in the last game is that I hope Elliott was just off his game or nervous about playing. If it’s more than that, we could see the same problems as last season with Ramo and Hiller. Time will tell and I hope he’s a little more focused on tracking the puck tonight.
What I want to see more of:
- Sean Monahan and his chances on net.
- Johnny Gaudreau and his nifty hands.
- Sam Bennett and his aggressiveness.
- Michael Frolik and his ability to snipe.
- Garnet Hathaway. Oh, wait…
What I want to see less of:
- Bad defensive pairings.
- Turnovers, unless they’re in our favour.
- One-sided reffing.
In tonight’s game, I’d like to see the Flames score another 4 goals. And I’d like to see them allow less than 7 goals from the Oilers. 4 goals can win games. But 7 by the opposition will kill the momentum.
The lineups have been released and they’re much more logical on the defensive end. Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie are reunited, Jyrki Jokipakka slots in beside Dougie Hamilton while Nicklas Grossmann sits out this game. The front lines look much the same, Monahan, Gaudreau, and Versteeg as first line. In my estimation, there’s hope that tonight’s game won’t be so one-sided. All lineup info can be found on the Flames website.
And here’s a little something they recently put on twitter to get us excited for tonights battle…
🎶 Let your red heart show 🎶 pic.twitter.com/hyg0ygw94r
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) October 14, 2016