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Lots To Like In Flames Win, But Milano Wasn’t On List




The Calgary Flames preseason contest against the Seattle Kraken featured plenty of dynamic duos on Monday night.

Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri showed speed and vision, creating chances with relentless motors.

Blake Coleman and Mikael Backlund picked up where they left off in the playoffs.

Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin were a force on defence.

Sonny Milano and … well, that’s where the chemistry experiment ended.

And after another unimpressive showing during the 4-1 Calgary Flames victory, the end is near for Milano’s PTO contract.

It wouldn’t have been that surprising to see the announcement come out between the second and third periods.

Heck, even the pro-Milano crowd who feel the former Anaheim Ducks winger was left without much ammo.

The only thing left to cling to is the fact Milano hasn’t seen much time with top six forwards since early in camp. That’s true. But if you’re looking to add precious contracts, do you want to see how Milano plays when things are easy? Or would you prefer to find out how he plays when it’s harder. When he has to be the one driving the play?

Head coach Darryl Sutter suggested last week that he’s looking at many on and off-ice elements in his evaluations.

Second efforts and puck battles don’t necessarily mean scoring chances or points, but those parts of the game don’t depend on which linemates are out there with you.

If not enough of those are happening, there will be no happy ending here for the 26-year-old Milano.

An offensive zone hooking penalty didn’t help matters.

There’s no doubt he has skill and upside, but it doesn’t look like Milano fits into the Calgary Flames mould.

Cody Eakin didn’t look out of place as a fourth-line centre between Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis. He seems to be a better bet of the two PTOs up front.

But if you’re banking on only one of the tryout players making the opening-night roster, it has to be Michael Stone, doesn’t it?

The loyal Calgary Flames rearguard continues to do his thing. Stone scored for the third time in the preseason, joining Hanifin, Tanev and Coleman on the scoresheet.

Calgary Flames lines

Andrew Mangiapane – Nazem Kadri – Dillon Dube
Kevin Rooney – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic – Cody Eakin – Trevor Lewis
Sonny Milano – Adam Ruzicka – Brett Ritchie
Noah Hanifin – Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov – MacKenzie Weegar
Connor Mackey – Michael Stone
Jacob Markstrom

The goals

Tanev scored in the first period of his first preseason game. He looked fully recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery. He picked up his own rebound and coasted in closer before ripping a wrister past former Calgary Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones.
Stone blasted a trademark slapper high to the glove side on the powerplay in the second period to make it 2-0 Flames. Kadri and Mangiapane did the dirty work in the Kraken end to set him up. Looks like a solid combo developing there, and it was Mangiapane’s debut.
Later in the period, the Calgary Flames made it 3-0. Kevin Rooney showed off his speed after collecting a loose puck and found Hanifin open for the shot. Blake Coleman provided a perfect screen on the play, and Rooney looked like a solid option on the wing on the third line.
Rookie-of-the-year contender Matty Beniers connected on a one-time feed from Alex Wennberg to cut into the lead. He handcuffed Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom but it was the only one they’d get on the big Swede.
Coleman finished the scoring midway through the third scoring with a bit of a bad beat on Jones from an awkward angle.

The bottom line

Waiver claim Radim Zohorna is a bit of a wildcard but what we saw on Monday could be the opening-night lineup (swapping in inactive top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli). Adam Ruzicka, Brett Ritchie, Cody Eakin and Zohorna would all be fighting to avoid waivers by the end of camp in this scenario.

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