Flames Fall to Leafs on the Back of a Scalding Hot Marner and a Nylander Hockey Clinic, Outdoor BoA for 2023 Announced

It’s not shocking to anyone that most of what you’re going to hear after the Leafs 5-4 OT win over the Flames last night is that Marner tallied yet another point to push his franchise-record point streak to 22 games. It’s also not shocking that the Leafs faithful are still planning their parade route, which we all know will end in a dramatic and hilarious fashion.

However, underneath the Toronto media fuss and nonsense, the Flames saw themselves up against more than just Marner being the pinnacle of consistent scoring right now. WIlliam Nylander got and stayed hot for the full 60 minutes, and the Flames simply could not solve the puzzle on how to slow him down. Five Leafs goals, 5 Nylander points. Is that good? Seems good.

Now onto the Flames aspect of last night’s nailbiter wherein the struggling Flames secured an ever-valuable point at the other Scotiabank Hockey Facility.

In a game with no shortage of electricity from the opening faceoff until the moment the red light came on in OT, it also came with seemingly no shortages of extra-man chances for the hometown Leafs, something Coach Sutter had some (less than) thinly veiled thoughts about. You gotta love the guy, he says ten words but you know everything he’s thinking.

Now I cannot and will not speak to the legitimacy of the penalties. These are grown men flying around at a million miles an hour and we task two people to keep track of all of it. Mistakes are gonna get made, but more often than not, there’s a reason refs get paid to do this thing. However, Coach Sutter has been one of those grown men flying around, so he can say things aren’t penalties and I’ll trust him. #InDarryWeTrust. That said, six shorthanded opportunities are not going to work for anyone, and truthfully, as much as you may want to argue that the league wants Toronto to win, I think the history of there being so many poor, desparate Leafs fans who have been alive for so long and never having seen a parade downtown means that the opinion that there’s favouritism anywhere near Toronto is probably not valid.

On the bright side, Flames prospect and AHL scoring leader Matthew Phillips made his way into the lineup for his season debut, unfortunately displacing Lucic up into the press box for the evening. While he never found the scoresheet, getting Phillips into the lineup against strong teams is going to give him the exact experience he needs to adjust to the size and speed jumps he’s going to be in charge of dealing with coming up very shortly. In terms of Lucic getting the healthy to make room for Phillips, according to Coach Sutter, simple math…

It’s important to note that this is a notably anti-Sutter type move. Something clearly had to give in Calgary and clearly Coach thought it was best to hang up the old-time hockey for a look at a young, skilled guy with the potential to grow to fill the cage at the pro level, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t shock me to my core to see Coach putting Lucic on the shelf for a night for a rookie centreman.

Throughout the rest of the lineup, Kadri stayed in true Kadri form, picking up another important goal at an important time, slowly solidifying himself as a truly reliable pillar on which the Flames can lean at the forward end. Mangiapane also stayed true to himself, performing to well above expecations while away from the Saddledome. Wherever Andrew Mangiapane laces up is skates is home to him, because home-ice advantage does not exist in his universe. This season he is much more balanced home vs. away, but last season 23 of his 31 goals came outside of Saddledome territory.

Last night also saw the announcement of the 2023 Heritage Classic featuring the Battle of Alberta in one of the coldest and most depressing cities not named Winnipeg in this great nation. I will say outright that Commonwealth Stadium is a better venue than McMahon Stadium but other than the game and the mall, there ain’t a damn thing to do that weekend. Am I gonna complain the entire time? Yes. Am I going to purchase outlandishly overpriced tickets to sit outdoors in Edmonton, Alberta in late October, probably in a snowstorm? Also yes. Stay tuned for that.

The Flames take tonight off before heading to La Centre Bell in Montreal to take on the Habs.

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