The Calgary Flames struggle on opening night, especially against their provincial rivals. The lead up to the the season opener say the Flames play a handful of lacklustre outings in pre-season. When the puck dropped last night on the new 2017-2018 season, the team was thoroughly dominated by the Oilers. This is the Oilers team that’s about Arizona Coyotes good without the #2 best player in the NHL, who we have to keep reiterating due to jealousy, was won in a random lottery. He had an opening hat-trick, the last goal into an empty net after Troy ‘I make more than the 3rd line combined’ Brouwer embarrassed himself losing the puck along the boards.
Back to the game.
You have a significant problem if your team can’t even generate scoring chances. You have an even bigger problem when the defensive corps left their skates in Cowtown. You don’t stand a chance when the coach is out-coached over and over again.
Tanner Glass was the best Flames forward. That speaks volumes. The ‘top line’ was non-existent and generated one scoring opportunity all night.
TJ Brodie was burned 3 times (or rather all night), by McDavid. Yes, it’s McDavid, he’ll make anybody look average, but Brodie looked like he was playing in his socks. Terrible opener.
The supposed ‘best defensive pairings on paper’ gave up 45 shots against. Matt ‘tank commander’ Bartkowski rounded out the bottom pairing, who takes the place as this year’s coach’s, “let’s start Grossman” distinction.
The only bright spot? Mike Smith.
He was dialled in making huge saves, gave up two goals on McDavid, one on a breakaway after Brodie lost a foot race with a 20 ft lead, and looks solid. That’s unlike previous opening nights and plethora of goalies who’ve started over the past 5 years. Maybe he’s the answer?
Answers, however, are nowhere to be found to answer the effort that the Flames brought in Edmonton. They’re afraid, slow, and don’t have a gameplan that even Jaromir Jagr can fix. Whether this is the players refusing to play the system, or the coach getting out coached, we’ll find out over the next week or so. But thus far, the only reprieve, is that the Flames weren’t blown out like last year’s season opener. But then again, we had Wideman then……