Guys, we are SO back. Hockey season is fully underway and the new look Flames are back in action with a short little 2-game kickoff, where they took on the defending Cup Champs and fired the Battle of Highway 2 right back up.
Thursday night saw a massive start to a high hopes campaign, with the Colorado Avalanche coming in fresh off hoisting Lord Stanley, into a building full to the rafters with fans waiting to see how the new squad would kick off the new campaign.
Sadly, season openers have not been overly kind to the Flames, given that the last time they won a Game 1 was in 2009. Stage = Set.
With Huberdeau, Kadri, and Weegar all making their Flames regular season debut, and Gabriel Landeskog unable to yet suit up for the Avs, the Flames battled their way to a 1-1 first frame, with the Flames lone goal coming from Brett Ritchie, off of Weegar and Lucic assists, which is precisely what we all put in the center square of our Flames bingo card I’m sure.
The Flames did shake the dust off shortly after, with goals from Dube, Andersson, Teapot Toffoli, and Lindholm to get out to a 5-1 lead. The Avs would push back and get to within two but Markstrom hopped back into his top regular season form from last year and kept the defending Champs at bay, backstopping the Flames to a 5-3 win, their first in a season opener in well over a decade.
The win not only started the season off just like you’d hope, but also marked Coach Sutter’s (Ked’s new favourite person) 700th career win.
Kadri was also given his Stanley Cup Ring after the game, and holy hell have you seen these things? They’re monstrous, and the TV in the case is nicer than the one I have in my home.
Another huge success for the Flames new additions is that the trio combined for 4 assists, with every one of the new major offseason acquisitions picking up at least one.
As nice as Thursday was, nothing compared to the expectations rolling into Saturday, the rebirth of the very, VERY briefly postponed Battle of Alberta. The first episode of which took place behind enemy lines, under the same roof that so many voices claimed that they had sent the Flames spiralling into the depths of a rebuild.
In typical BoA fashion, if you didn’t absolutely hammer the over, you haven’t been paying attention. Backlund tucked home the Flames first road goal of the year just 73 seconds in, which of course didn’t last long as Ceci tied it back up just over two minutes later, which, obviously, also didn’t last long as Stone put the Flames back on top less than a minute and a half after that. Fireworks early. Shocker.
Vladar drew the start from the Flames, leading many hallucinating Oilers fans to believe that the Flames were somehow scared, just lying down and giving up before the game even begun. Spoiler Alert: Not the case.
Kadri picked up his first goal for the Flames and let me just say, wow. He has still got it. In last week’s season preview podcast, Ked and Brownie discussed the things we needed to focus on for the Flames. Can Vladar draw more starts to keep Markstrom fresh? See Above. Can Kadri maintain the pace and energy he used to help the Avs to a Cup Victory a few months ago? See Below.
Not only did Kadri net his first goal in a Flames jersey, he followed up with an assist to the Road Goal King himself, Andrew Mangiapane, a few minutes later.
Once again, the Oilers did manage to make a game of it after falling behind big early, but the Flames netminder shut the door giving the Flames their second win in a row, and sealing Chapter 1 of the 2022/23 Battle of Alberta firmly in the history books for the good guys.
The Flames take on the also undefeated Vegas Golden Knights tonight, kicking off an 8-game homestand.