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GAME DAY PREVIEW- Game 2: Canucks @ Calgary

After a tough loss where they deserved a better fate, the Canucks head down Highway 2 to Cowtown to take on the Flames.

NHL: Preseason-Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports





Both of these teams head into tonight’s action looking for their first win of the season after dropping their respective openers. The Canucks blew a lead and lost a game they were the better team in because of some defensive errors, and Brandon Sutter. The Flames? Well, it was deja-vu all over again as they looked as helpless against the Colorado Avalanche as they did in April when the Avs fed them their lunch in the first round.

This is a Flames squad that has high expectations, especially after winning the division last season only to bow out in 5 against Colorado. They made a few changes this this year that they hope will fix those issues, and we spoke with Mark Parkinson of our pals over at Matchsticks and Gasoline to get you up to speed on the the Flames for tonight:

1. The Flames had a hell of a season last year, but it came to a pretty shocking halt with the first round loss to Colorado. Do you think the changes the team made this offseason are a response to that, or are they confident in the plan going forward?

The Flames didn’t do a ton this off season to make themselves that much better. Swapping out Mike Smith for Cam Talbot seems like a lateral move, but time will tell. When it comes to goaltending this should be David Rittich’s job to lose, but we all seem to think Talbot will get between 35-40% of the starts this season. I think the most telling thing is what the Flames DIDN’T do this off season: deal Michael Frolik and T.J. Brodie. Brodie is still here out of necessity seeing Juuso Valimaki is sidelined for a good chunk, if not all of this season. Frolik, there may just not have been a market for him. With all that said when you were the second best team overall during the regular season, you shouldn’t have to change much. What killed them in that first round series was Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk not showing up in the playoffs. Talent like that disappearing when it counts would sink any team.

2. From an outsider’s perspective, replacing James Neal with Milan Lucic seems to be an odd move at best. What do you think Looch would have to do for it to be considered a successful deal for the Flames?

Honestly, I’m fine with it. James Neal needed a change of scenery as he was utterly useless in Calgary. Initially I was shocked Calgary added Lucic, but I think he’ll serve an important role on this team. He’s the sandpaper that Calgary desperately needs. If you pair Lucic and Sam Bennett on a line together the Flames have a line that will be tough to play against, which is something they haven’t had in a very long time. Losing Garnet Hathaway in the off season left them with a void in the “tough guy” department and moving Neal for Lucic makes sense. Will James Neal continue to be terrible in Edmonton, who knows. Will Lucic find his game and help the Flames, who knows. The point is they are both in new places and that may be just what is needed. Plus, it’ll be a little harder to take runs at Johnny Gaudreau this season with someone like Lucic coming off the bench.

3. We’re familiar with the Tkachuk, Gaudreau and Monahan, but who’s a new face on the Flames this season you think will have an impact on the team?

What the Flames added (outside of Lucic and Talbot) seemed to be secondary pieces. Michael Stone is back, but I expect the Flames to roll with the younger combo of Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson with Stone getting spot relief duty or as the “next man up.” I’m going to say Cam Talbot. I think Talbot will need to be solid as Calgary’s backup because, as great as Rittich has been, he’s not ready for a Miikka Kiprusoff type work load. If Talbot struggles the Flames may be in trouble. The goaltending stable in the minors isn’t anything to write home about, so unfortunately the Flames will need Talbot to be better than Mike Smith was last season and after his preseason performances he should be ok. We hope.

Thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer those, and you can check out what I had to say as part of their “3 Things About...” series, answering some questions about the Canucks and making them hate us for not being able to do the answers without mentioning Michael Ferland. Okay, maybe 4 times was a little mean.


I want you to make sure you’re sitting down when you realize that Travis Green put Brandon Sutter on the wing on Line 4 and Loui Eriksson in the press box after their piss-poor performances in Game 1. Maybe there’s hope for this team yet if these guys are actually going to be held accountable for their bad, disinterested play.


Flames fans: don’t look...


Sure, there’s lots of different sounds to choose from out there, but if you got a craving for some blatant, straight up old-school Entombed worship, check out the ‘The Harvest’, the new album from Germany’s ENDSEEKER. Here’s the title track for ya. Enjoy the game!