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Oilers 4, Flames 2: Turns out giving the Oilers seven powerplays isn’t good strategy

The Flames in Edmonton were doing well after two periods – and then the wheels came off late in the third. Still! There were bright spots! And also hockey!



As is tradition with preseason, in split squad games, teams tend to keep their top players at home. After all, you want to put on a show for your home fans, and the best way to do that? By giving them exactly who they want to see. So the Calgary Flames, with all their top players back at home, may have been in tough against the Edmonton Oilers – especially playing against all those players Oilers fans want to see.

Yes, Connor McDavid was there. And he, like the rest of the Oilers, needed to wait until the third period (and, like, seventh powerplay) in order to break out, as the Oilers surged in the final frame to take down the Flames, 4-2.

For all the presumed hype of hockey being back, the game started off a total mess – albeit a mess that started to look more like regular hockey as the game went on. Regular, penalty-filled hockey. The Oilers had seven powerplays throughout the game, while the Flames had a handful of their own.

It was even strength where things first kicked off, however. The Oilers’ Andrew Miller got things started with a bad angle goal Karri Ramo let through that he really, really should not have.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">First <a href="">#Oilers</a> goal of the <a href="">#NHLPreseason</a>! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) <a href="">September 22, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Oliver Kylington was quick to respond, though. He carried the puck up the ice and, alone and completely surrounded by Oilers, let a shot go – and scored, this time giving Cam Talbot something to regret and tying the game at one.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Flames goal, 1-1 after 1 in Edmonton <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Stephanie (@myregularface) <a href="">September 22, 2015</a></blockquote>

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That was it for anything at even strength, as penalties took over from there on out. About halfway through the game, the Oilers put Laurent Brossoit in for Talbot, and he was immediately bombarded by high quality chances – including one that got in.

With the Oilers on the powerplay, Garnet Hathaway forced a turnover in the neutral zone, and Markus Granlund pounced. Dancing his way through, he got himself into perfect position and forced Brossoit to give him a hole, making the lead 2-1 for the Flames with a shorthanded tally.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">granlund shorthanded goal <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Stephanie (@myregularface) <a href="">September 22, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Turner Elson went on his own shorthanded break immediately after, but that was pretty much it for the Flames. Well into the third period, with Mason McDonald in for Ramo and on the Oilers’ seventh powerplay of the game, Edmonton finally capitalized with the man advantage, and McDavid finally got on the board: dishing the puck to Leon Draisaitl, who snapped it in quick to tie the game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Beauty pass by Connor, beauty finish by Leon! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) <a href="">September 22, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The Flames got a powerplay immediately after, but were thwarted by Anton Lander’s own shorthanded goal. Down 3-2 with very little time left, the Flames pulled McDonald, and ended up surrendering an empty netter to Nail Yakupov, losing 4-2.

Stray observations

  • This is going to be very, very limited, because the streaming services available were not up to par. The Oilers stream held out through most of the game, but died in the third. You’d think professional organizations responsible for the broadcasting of their material would be able to handle this properly, but alas.
  • Kylington was very, very noticeable in the beginning, especially on a Flames powerplay. The work he did to get his goal was fantastic, and it was clear he wasn’t satisfied with just that. Whether he plays in Brandon or Stockton this season, he’ll probably be an excellent point man with the man advantage.
  • Rasmus Andersson wasn’t particularly noticeable – in a good way. Between the Flames’ Swedish defence prospects, there’s a lot of hope for that blueline.
  • The goal Ramo gave up was brutal, and he seemed rather flail-y in the first. When he came out for the second period, however, he looked much more alert. This is what preseason is for! The Flames showed a lot of faith in him by reupping his contract for this season, and he’ll have to prove he earned his raise with more periods like his second, and less like his first.
  • There was some physicality out there (and when you take seven penalties, you should expect that). David Jones had a huge hit, Deryk Engelland got sent to the box after trying to destroy the Oilers’ Josh Winquist, Dennis Wideman had a pretty hard retaliation against Yakupov that got him sent to the box for two, and Hathaway was responsible for that seventh powerplay against when he levelled Taylor Hall (Hall did not return to the game, but whether that was due to injury or just no point in creating risks in preseason remains to be seen).
  • Speaking of Engelland, after two periods, he was the Flames’ shot leader with four. Oh… okay…? That’s, um, both a good sign for Engelland, and a bad sign for everyone else. With only the sixth defenceman position truly in question on the backend and other guys pushing for the job, Engelland has to know he’s gotta step it up to stay in the lineup.
  • (Can’t get nice full stats for this game because the NHL only recorded the game that took place in Calgary – again, a problem with having two split squad games on at the same time.)
  • Another tidbit we were fortunate enough to receive: Kris Russell led the Flames with 17:05 of ice time after two periods, and led the way with five blocked shots, because of course he did. (No word on what it was after three.)
  • With Bob Hartley back in Calgary, it was Jacques Cloutier and Martin Gelinas manning the Flames’ bench in Edmonton.
  • Props to the guys with the Oilers call: when they became aware they were mispronouncing names (Kylington phonetically, especially) they apologized and made up for it. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone do that. Usually they just keep mispronouncing names…

Up next

Cuts! Probably cuts. And six more preseason games, the next of which is on Thursday, Sept. 24 in Colorado, at 7 p.m. MT. Hopefully we'll be able to actually watch it properly – until then!

by Ari Yanover