The first edition of the Battle of Alberta this season didn’t go in favor of the Calgary Flames. But can they come back and win in the second round of this rivalry for their home opener?
It’s only the second game of the season for the Calgary Flames and it’s already the second Battle of Alberta.
The season opener didn’t go as the Flames would have hoped, playing on the new home ice for the Edmonton Oilers. They lost 7-4 in a disappointing loss, but it’s only the first game. Let’s not dwell on the past. Instead, let’s look at what’s ahead.
All Is Well In The Land Of Defense
In today’s projected lineup that the Flames posted earlier in the day, all is right again. Gio and Brodie will play together tonight.
Last season and the one before, Gio and Brodie dominated as a pair. Last season, they were second for highest combined points for a defensive duo, with 101 points. In the 2014-2015 season, they were dominating as well for the first half of the season until Gio unfortunately got injured, ending his season. However, before that, many analysts were even calling them one of the best defensive pairing in the league. All eyes were on them, including various scouts.
Some more good news from the blue line: looks like Nicklas Grossmann will sit out tonight. Flames signed Grossmann as a free agent just days before the season started, leaving many fans concerned. Not concerned because they think he’s a horrible player or anything, but because people thought there were better options.
And much to the concerns of a lot of people, Grossmann got two turnovers early in the season opener that both led to goals by the Oilers.
But again, let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s focus on what’s ahead and that’s a Brodano defensive paring and Grossmann sitting out. So we will see what tonight will bring.
We also have a few predictions about tonight’s game:
The Second Line Will Shine
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This might be a bold-out-there prediction seeing how this player didn’t have a huge impact on Wednesday night, but rookie Matthew Tkachuk, who made his NHL debut on Wednesday, will do fun things tonight. A strong feeling is that he will have a good home season in general.
During the Young Stars Classic, this kid was rock solid. He never missed a scrum which people liked about him, and he knows how to make an impact. During the preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes, he scored the Flames’ lone goal, and lifted them with a win in a shootout, also scoring the lone shootout goal. This kid is definitely going to turn heads. It might take a few games for him to get in the swing of things, but he’s going to be fun to watch.
Now we have the center for the second line, Sam Bennett. We know how he struggled a bit last last season points-wise. He constantly made an impact with his presence on the ice and made great plays, but for some reason he wasn’t able to get on the scoreboard.
I have really high hopes for him and Tkachuk together, especially along side veteran Troy Brouwer who can provide some experienced guidance for them. Tkachuk and Bennett together are going to be a fun duo to watch this season, mark my words.
McDavid Will Be McDavid
There is also a high (very high) probability that Oilers’ young star Connor McDavid will shine tonight and probably get a star of the game, no matter the outcome. I mean, McDavid doing well isn’t really a bold prediction or anything, but hey. My personal prediction will be that he gets about three points tonight, but it won’t come easy. Knowing the Flames, they will most-likely put Gio and Brodie on the ice against the McDavid line. They will also most-likely have the fourth line out there against that line as often as they can; the fourth line consisting of Lance Bouma, Alex Chiasson, and Matt Stajan. Kind of like the “tough guy” line, just to maybe help throw McD off balance.
Everybody had high hopes for Flames new goaltender Brian Elliott in the first game of the season after playing exceptionally well during preseason, and having some incredible numbers over the last few seasons. However, this wasn’t the case and Elliott didn’t perform up to people’s standards. It’s OK, a bit of a step back is fine. Nerves could kick in, especially for the first game of the season playing in a brand new arena for the first time.
Hold me against these words, but he will still have a great season. A couple of games here and there won’t be the end of the world, and he will definitely pull through when the Flames need him the most. Even after the not-so-great first game, he will be the Flames best goaltender since Miikka Kiprusoff.
Also predicting he will get a star of the game tonight as well.
So there you have it. Some predictions for the Calgary Flames’ home opener after the season opener Flames players and fans alike would like to forget about. And hey, maybe Michael Frolik will get another short-handed goal.
Hopefully tonight, they’ll give the rest of the league a glance of what they’re capable of.
And make the other teams know what they’re in for when they have a game at the Dome.