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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks 10/6/18 (2/82): A Better Effort Is Required

Calgary’s home opener is tonight and a familiar foe will be visiting the Dome in game 2 of the regular season.



Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks, 8 PM MT, Scotibank Saddledome, Calgary AB

Calgary Flames 0-1-0 (0 pts) – Vancouver Canucks 1-0-0 (2 pts)

The Flames will welcome the Canucks to the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight for their home opener for the 2018-19 regular season. Calgary and Vancouver tangled Wednesday night and the Flames came out on the losing end of the 5-2 in more ways than one. Calgary will be without Travis Hamonic tonight and for the foreseeable future after he sustained a facial injury during a fight with Erik Gudbranson during the first period in Vancouver. The Flames will have some muscle in the lineup as Dalton Prout will make his regular season debut tonight. It will be interesting to see if Bill Peters and the Flames are placing him in the lineup as a sign that they aren’t willing to put up with borderline hits or if the Flames plan on turning this into an Iron League contest right from the start.

In the season opener the Canucks dominated the Flames from start to finish. The Canucks were tougher, faster and flat out looked like a team that wanted the game more than the Flames. In typical Flames fashion they took more shots than their opponent (35-23), yet managed to score 3 less goals. Also concerning was the fact that the Flames went 0-7 on the PP, which seems almost unfathomable. Calgary dumped last year’s coaching staff in hopes that the power play would improve, but one game into the season it looks the same: dump it back to Johnny Gaudreau and have him start the rush from the defensive end and watch the other team clog up center ice and nothing happens. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

If the Flames plan on winning this contest they will need to do 2 things: set the tone early and really lock down on Elias Pettersson. The 19 year old Swedish centre scored his first ever NHL goal and collected an assist in Vancouver’s 5-2 victory. The “good news” for Flames fans is Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, James Neal and Mikael Backlund all had strong games for Calgary. Their bottom 6 (per usual) was a mess and Peters needs to tweak his lines a touch to get maximum output from all 12 players (like move Neal to either the top or second line). Defensively, Mark Giordano looked like his solid self, but the bottom pairing of Michael Stone and Juuso Valimaki was a little rough (mainly Stone).

None of these issues are insurmountable, but for a new regime and a roster loaded with new faces, this team looks more like the team of old instead the new look Flames we were hoping for.

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 2 Vancouver Canucks 5

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames: Dalton Prout

Prout will make his 2018-19 season debut tonight and he’s not listed here as a player to watch because he’s going to make a signisficant offensive impact. He’s here because he was added to the lineup with the goal of adding some grit to the Flames player mix. Will he immediately hit the ice and seek retrobution for the hit Dillon Dube took or look to drag Erik Gudbranson into a fight when they hit the ice? Time will tell, but putting Prout into the lineup is a clear signal the Flames aren’t happy with the Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks: Elias Pettersson

As NHL debuts go, Pettersson’s couldn’t have gone better. The native of Sweden scored a goal on his first ever NHL shot and added an assist to cap of a pretty good night. He has good speed and a rocket shot, something the Flames are going to have to get used to and deal with for some time coming.

by Mark Parkinson