The Calgary Flames opened their season in Edmonton against the Oilers, Wednesday night.
They took part in the grand opening of northern Alberta’s newest hockey facility, Rogers Place.
In the first period, Edmonton came out fired up and scored on their first shot of the game. Patrick Maroon deflected the puck past newcomer Flames goaltender Brian Elliott for the early lead. The Flames would respond quickly, however, with Alex Chiasson banging away his own rebound at the corner of the net past Oilers netminder Alex Talbot. It didn’t last, with defencemen Niklas Grossman turning the puck over on a rush towards Edmonton’s net, sending the Oilers Tyler Pitlick down the ice the other way. He beat Elliott top corner to regain the Oilers lead, 2-1. It was Grossman’s second costly turnover, which saw Edmonton get on the board twice in less then 6 minutes. They were the first two shots that Elliott faced in a Flames uniform. The Oilers weren’t done yet. Catching the Flames on a change, Zach Kassian scored on a breakaway, growing the lead to 3-1.
In the middle frame, both teams battled back and forth with the Flames controlling most of the play early on, but weak goaltending from both sides kept rearing it’s ugly head. Leon Draisaitl returned the favour for Grossman’s mistakes, making a bad backhand pass on the power play to spring Troy Brouwer on a break-away. He tallied shot handed to make it a one-goal game. The Flames kept pressing. Once again, on the penalty kill, Michael Frolik finished off a rush to tie the game up at 3 apiece, Calgary’s second shortie of the contest. The Oilers would turn things back around. A bounce behind the net found it’s way right onto the stick of Connor McDavid, who made no mistake back door, restoring the Oilers lead. McDavid would score again on a questionable penalty shot call. 5-3 Oilers.
The first few minutes of the final stanza saw the puck move up and down the ice, but nothing stuck. That is until the 9th minute of the period, when Edmonton struck again, this time on the Flames ninth penalty of the game. Jesse Puljujarvi scored his first NHL goal making the scoreboard read 6-3. The tenth goal of the game closed the gap a bit for Calgary. Dennis Wideman found the back of the net to make it 6-4. Jordan Eberle added an empty netter for a 7-4 final.
Not a great opening night for Brian Elliott. He made 21 saves on 27 shots, a 0.777 SV%.
Next up for the Flames, those same Oilers come to Calgary to face-off at the Saddledome on Friday.
Puck drop 7 o’clock.