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Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks recap: That’s not the start you want

The Flames' season started with fireworks, but the opening game very, very quickly fizzled out, as the team bled goals and couldn't get any bounces to go their way.



In case you forgot, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks do, indeed, have a rivalry. When they last met, it was the probably the most physical series of the first round of the 2015 playoffs, filled with brawls and game misconducts for both galore.

But that was April; this is October. It's a fresh start for all.

So of course, we had to revisit old threads. Bob Hartley and Willie Desjardins took it upon themselves to remind you: the Flames and Canucks still hate each other. Two seconds into the starts of their seasons, Micheal Ferland and Derek Dorsett were scrapping, just as they did lo those many months ago. Except this time, Ferland came back a little older, a little wiser, a little more experienced – and all the more dominant, thoroughly winning the fight.

The Flames actually got off to a dominating start themselves, mostly fielded by their terrifying (in a good way) top line; unfortunately, after not even half a period the Canucks began to take over.

Jiri Hudler coughed up the puck, giving the Sedins a great chance to capitalize; one beautifully thwarted by Karri Ramo:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="lt" dir="ltr">Ramo save <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Stephanie (@myregularface) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote>

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But… that was pretty much it. Soon after, Jannik Hansen scored shortside on Ramo. Towards the end of the period, Ramo tapped the puck right on to Brandon Sutter’s stick, and the Canucks left the first with a 2-0 lead.

Hartley entered the second with brand new line combinations. The only one to stay intact? The top line, of course. Sean Monahan forced a Luca Sbisa turnover, and some fancy passing between Johnny Gaudreau and Hudler had the oldest member of the top line making it a 2-1 game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hudler goal <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Stephanie (@myregularface) <a href="">October 8, 2015</a></blockquote>

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All was well and good until the Canucks reestablished their two-goal lead with just five seconds to go – this time a Daniel Sedin goal off of his shin, which got there off of Ramo’s stick in tight quarters.

Things went from bad to worse in the third, the period the Flames are supposedly known for kicking ass in. They were giving up scoring chances to the Canucks left, right, and centre, so it only made sense for them to score the next goal – on themselves. Dennis Wideman batted the puck past a sleeping Ramo, and Alexandre Burrows got credit as the Canucks went up 4-1.

And that was pretty much that. A scrum around Ryan Miller’s net resulted in Matt Stajan, Brandon Bollig, Brandon Prust, and Dorsett all getting game misconducts, effectively ending their nights. And a fifth goal, this time by Henrik Sedin, slipping through a little hole Ramo left pretty much ended any hopes of coming back – if there were any even remaining.

The Canucks won 5-1, outshot the Flames 44-30, and out-corsied them 65-54 (50-46 at even strength, but roughly 58-41 when you adjust for the score).

Flame of the game

Nobody. I like to try to find a positive Flame performance to point to in every single game, but really, there's nothing to look at here. To come out in your home opener, dominate for five minutes or so, and then roll over and die the rest of the game is pretty bad.

Stray observations

  • Honestly, you can blame Ramo for all five goals. The first, he actually had – until he ducked down, letting the puck sail in clear over his shoulder. The second, he batted the puck right onto Sutter’s stick; the third, Dan Hamhuis‘ shot from the point went off his stick, off Sedin’s shin, and in. The fourth, he completely failed to react. The fifth, he left just enough space for the other Sedin to tuck it in.
  • Considering the Flames have three waiver-eligible goalies all on the roster, Ramo was not. Good. Enough. Not even close. Jonas Hiller is the best goalie the Flames have had since Miikka Kiprusoff, and pretending he isn’t doesn’t make it not true.
  • That isn’t to say Ramo’s the only one to blame – Deryk Engelland had some pretty atrocious defence on the first goal, you don’t exactly expect your own teammate to score on you, and the Flames defence was seriously missing T.J. Brodie – but come on, you need more out of a starter. His rebound control was pretty terrifying all night, and he simply didn’t cover the areas he needed to.
  • Hartley’s starting line combinations looked great, and the Flames were dominating early. However, when they failed to score, he got impatient and immediately switched them up. One of the most egregious offences? Putting Bollig and Lance Bouma with Mikael Backlund. Backlund doesn’t match their skill sets at all.
  • Bollig… doesn’t really have a place in this lineup? He only played 8:53, the only Flame to not even reach 10 minutes. He did have a fight against Prust in the first, but it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, one born of two guys in the lineup who really only have one skill set. It was dull and inane. And why is he necessary? Ferland’s already there – and he can play a fair amount more.
  • (I miss Paul Byron, who provided a much more necessary skill set – defensive competence – that the Flames were lacking.)
  • If you’re going to mess with line combinations, please put Sam Bennett on the wing alongside Backlund and Michael Frolik.
  • And keep that line together, even if they don’t experience success after five minutes. Please. The Flames completely unravelled once things were changed up, and never recovered. How did mixing up the lines help anybody but Vancouver?
  • Dougie Hamilton is FAST, and really likes to jump up into the play – and got a scoring chance or two out of it (a two-on-one with Gaudreau!). Dougie Hamilton also needs to chill. He had an unnecessary boarding penalty on Bo Horvat in the offensive zone, and followed that up with a trip on Jared McCann. Control yourself, Dougie. (It’ll almost certainly come with time.)
  • That top line is gonna come back together, too. Monahan, Gaudreau, and Hudler looked fantastic in their goal, and really brought some energy and dangerous scoring chances for the Flames early on. They kept it going later in the game, too, but got a little too cute sometimes.
  • Other guys who kept it going later in the game, even though it was hopelessly over: Frolik and Josh Jooris.
  • Sven Baertschi almost got a goal! He didn’t, of course, but he came close – and forced a bad rebound by Ramo that only didn’t go in probably because Adam Cracknell and Radim Vrbata completely whiffed on actually connecting with the puck.

Up next

Rematch! The Flames will have the chance to get vengeance at Vancouver's own home opener, which they'll hope to crash this Saturday, Oct. 10. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. MT. Hopefully that one has a better outcome.

by Ari Yanover