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McDavid scores hat-trick for Oilers, Flames drop yet another game opener

By on October 17, 2021 0


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EDMONTON – Beginning this new campaign in enemy territory, the Calgary Flames were greeted with a chorus of boos. After playing all last season in empty rinks, it must have been music to their ears.


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There was a lot of hostility between these provincial enemies, something that always seemed to be lacking in these seething editions of the Battle of Alberta. It was a welcome sight no matter which side you are on.

Unfortunately for the Flames, all was no different.

Opposing superstar Connor McDavid picked a few corners. Isn’t he always in these rival confrontations? (The Edmonton Oilers captain also completed the hat trick, with an empty net late.)

And the Flames dropped their first game of the season. Don’t they always do it?

After Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Calgary-based crew have now lost their cover lifter in 12 straight seasons, a terrible dozen. They haven’t been 1-0 since the start of 2009.


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While they ultimately extended a league record – and not in a good way – a series of disappointments on opening night, there was actually a lot to like about the Flames’ performance in Game 1 of 82. They racked up 47 shots on goal but could only squeeze two former teammates Mike Smith into the Edmonton crease.

“I thought five on five we were pretty strong,” said Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “We did a lot of things we wanted to do, especially in our own area. “

“We have to take positive points,” agreed forward Andrew Mangiapane. “Obviously this was not the outcome we were looking for, but there were some good things that we did and we need to build on it. It’s a long season. There are still 81 games left, so not the way we wanted to start, obviously, but still a lot of time and we just have to keep building and evolving in the right direction.


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Reigning Hart Trophy winner McDavid scored on a pair of wicked setbacks on man’s advantage on Saturday – one on an obvious brutal call to Rasmus Andersson, the other on a whimper of a miner stumbling in Milan Lucic. Sutter called the two penalties “changes in dynamics.”

The Flames took advantage of a power play early in the third, with Elias Lindholm finishing after a soft assist from Matthew Tkachuk, but Jesse Puljujarvi replied just 26 seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage.

“Especially when we scored, 3-2, I feel like we take control of the game and right after that it’s hard to let in,” said Flames goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom, still his own critic. the hardest after stopping for 28 effort.


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Old friend Derek Ryan, who moved three hours north this summer as a free agent, had the other score on Saturday for the host Oilers, hitting a puck in the air to open the scoring.

Mangiapane, who is no longer a sleeper in any fantasy league, sniped the first goal of the season for the Flames. The 25-year-old buzzsaw – freshly named MVP at the world championship last spring – was stopped on a deflection but made a shrewd play to kick the rebound to his stick, then filed a backhand.

Warren Foegele of the Edmonton Oilers hits Erik Gudbranson of the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
Warren Foegele of the Edmonton Oilers hits Erik Gudbranson of the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia


Management by committee.

That’s the Flames’ game plan, with the club opting out of naming a new captain before the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Instead, they will ride with four substitutes – Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, Chris Tanev and Tkachuk.


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Mark Giordano has worn the Flames’ “C” for the past eight winters, but was caught by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.

“Each guy will have to contribute a little and do his part,” Backlund said after Saturday morning practice at Rogers Place. “And as a leadership group, we’re going to have to do it more collectively without Gio here. Not that he’s done everything himself before, but he’s always been THE TYPE and he did a great job.

“We miss him in the room, but we have to move on now. “

Backlund, Monahan and Tkachuk all served as Giordano’s substitutes last season, while Tanev had an “A” sewn onto his jersey for a few games towards the end of his first season in Calgary and was previously part of the cast. letters. for the Vancouver Canucks.


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It is worth noting that this system of committee leadership has worked in the past. The 1989 Flames won the Stanley Cup with a trio of co-captains – Tim Hunter, Lanny McDonald and Jim Peplinski.

“He’s not a guy taking over for the loss of the captain,” said Lucic, another respected voice in the locker room. “I think it’s a group thing. I think it puts pressure on a few guys to step up in that direction and sometimes the pressure is good. You can see real color coming out of guys when the spotlight is more on them. We’re going to have to do it in committee and get together as a group to fill that void.

“I have full confidence that this group can come together and do it.”

Derek Ryan of the Edmonton Oilers faces Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
Derek Ryan of the Edmonton Oilers faces Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia


In 31 career games against the Flames, McDavid has already scored the game-winning goal nine times. The Oilers sniper has totaled 26 goals and 43 points in those games. His pal Leon Draisaitl was also a force on Saturday, collecting three assists… McDavid is only the second man in Battle of Alberta lore to record three hat tricks in these provincial matches. McDonald is the other… During the same streak in the first stanza, Andersson was called up for both a nudge and a rough on little winger Kailer Yamamoto. Was there a whim too? It certainly appeared that way on reruns, at least from an angle, and the NHL’s Player Safety Department will likely take a close look at the footage… Andersson’s minor double came at a price, McDavid scoring his first of the season. evening as he squirmed. in the bin, but the boss didn’t seem to mind the 24-year-old defending his buddy who stopped the puck after contacting the crease. “Something we’ve been talking about is being stronger around our goalie this year,” Sutter explained. “In the past we weren’t”… Sutter’s hometown of Viking, Alta. Is in Oil Country, and the Flames skipper can’t go very far without remembering it. “Right across the road – the Oilers flags,” he smirked after the morning skate. “We’re seven miles out of town and my closest neighbor has an Oilers flag. And he’s a good neighbor ”… We already knew it, and Saturday only confirmed it: hockey just wasn’t the same without fans in the building.


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Tkachuk had nine shots on goal in Game 1… Calgary’s most sought-after summer hire Blake Coleman missed Saturday’s clash as he served a one-game boarding suspension. “I want to have an impact. Now I have to wait a few more days to do it, but I’ve got past that and I’m just trying to focus on my preparation for Monday, ”Coleman said earlier this week. “Obviously that’s not the ideal scenario you imagine when you step into a new team. But I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. ”… With Coleman stuck as a spectator, the Flames dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. It was a particularly busy evening for left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who led the team with 23:57 of ice time… It’s rare to see a defenseman record a hat trick, but Flames prospect Jérémie Poirier did exactly this Saturday, scoring three for the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs. The 19-year-old was hailed as the first star in a 4-3 overtime win… On the farm, Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr each scored their first professional goal as the Stockton Heat won a shared weekend with a 3-2 win over the Tucson Roadrunners… The next step for the Flames? The Saddledome home opener is scheduled for Monday, with the Anaheim Ducks in town for an election night game.

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