Flames have to settle for preseason success against Edmonton Oilers

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CALGARY – It doesn’t exactly make up for the humiliation in the playoffs last spring, but the Calgary Flames will settle for anything they can get against the Edmonton Oilers

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Even if it brings a 4-0 preseason win against Edmonton’s D Team.

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The Flames on Wednesday dressed a stacked, NHL-heavy lineup that included nine of their top 12 forwards, three of their top six defenders and their starting goalkeeper in the Saddledome.

The Oilers, as is usually the case with road teams early in the preseason, basically reacted with the red shirt guys from Star Trek. They left their seven or eight best forwards and five of their best six best defenders at home and started one of their AHL goalkeepers.

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“It’s no different than what Seattle did (at home on Monday),” said head coach Jay Woodcroft. “In the pre-season it’s very normal. Most teams dress a veteran-heavy lineup at home.”

Woodcroft likes the dynamism because it gives him insight into who will stand up in a situation like this and who will blend into the background of a lost cause. That it was still a close game is a good sign.

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“It’s an opportunity for some individuals to create some space in their struggle to make the team.”

Things went pretty much as everyone expected them to go in the first period, with the Flames beating Edmonton 13-4 in the opening 10 minutes.

After that it was a fairly even match. The Flames needed two goals at the end of the third period to finally get away.

Oilers goalkeeper Calvin Pickard was ready for the task in the net. That helped the Oilers gain a foothold and they held the Flames without a shot for the last 10 minutes and the first period somehow ended in a goalless draw.

Pickard, who split a shutout with Stuart Skinner in Edmonton’s first pre-season game against Winnipeg, stopped 16 of 17 shots until 31:36 before giving way to Skinner for the second half.

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EXCLUDE

Brett Sutter, son of Flames coach Darryl Sutter, had a goal, his second of the preseason and an assist in the Calgary win. The 35-year-old, who was once traded by his father to the Carolina Hurricanes, is closing his professional career with a view to coaching. He is the hockey version of Crash Davis from the movie Bull Durham, with 974 AHL games and 60 in the NHL.

Michael Stone, MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau scored the other Flames goals.

FOEGELE PRESSES FOR PK

Warren Foegele was one of the few Oilers veterans to make the trip. He’s glad he did, because although he played here all of last season, he’s in the middle of an audition of his own.

Between coming to a new team and then a mid-season coaching change, Foegele never quite got into the same kind of groove as he did four seasons with the Hurricanes.

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His numbers were right on par with what he did in Carolina – his 12 goals were one of his career highs and his 26 points were four of his best season – but he didn’t seem to have the kind of impact fans hoped for when he came across in the trade in Ethan Bear.

“It would be fair to say it’s been a bit of a roller coaster year, a bit of an adjustment,” said the 26-year-old winger, who is determined to take a step forward this year. “I’m trying to be more consistent and work my way up to the PK, that’s something I’ve done all my career and couldn’t do last year.

“The hardest part is finding a role when you’re in the bottom six and you’re not on a special team. There are a lot of penalties that happen in both directions, so there’s a lot of hanging around.”

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It’s an off-season discussion he and Woodcroft had.

“I met Warren over the summer. We sat down and laid out a game plan for his season and for his training camp and he looked really good for the first six days or so,” said Woodcroft, who added the door to a penalty-killing lane, wide open.

“When I met him in the summer, I explained that and I said, get ready, because you get your chance at a training camp. We keep giving him appearances, now it’s up to him to make up for it.”

Either way, Foegele understands what he needs to do to be an effective player in Edmonton.

“I just have to stay consistent whether I’m playing seven or thirteen minutes, it has to be the same game. My best hockey is when I’m tenacious and I bring pucks to the net. When my legs move, something happens. When they do that If not, it’s not going my way.”

BANNER starving

How Hungry for Banners Are the Calgary Flames? They even hung one for finishing with the most points in the Pacific Division during the regular season. They call themselves 2021-22 Pacific Division Champions, even though they were eliminated in the second round.

Email: rtychkowski@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @Rob_Tychkowski

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