On Wednesday night, the Calgary Flames suited up for their third preseason game. Preseason games don’t usually mean a whole heck of a lot, aside from watching players try to earn a roster spot. That wasn’t the case last night, however, as fans not only got their first glimpse of the NHL’s new Seattle Kraken team, but they also welcomed their former captain Mark Giordano back to the Saddledome.
Not that there was any doubt about the reception he would get, but it was immediately clear how excited Flames fans were to see the 37-year-old rearguard back in Calgary. Just seconds into the game, when Giordano touched the puck, the building erupted in cheers. It was a great moment for the former Norris Trophy winner, and that was just the beginning.
Giordano is Still the Same Player
Flames fans will always remember Giordano. He was the organization’s best defenceman for most of his 14 seasons with the club. During that time, he also put up plenty of points, with 143 goals and 366 assists over 949 games, and he quickly proved last night that he still has that offensive flair.
Under three minutes into the game, Giordano took a nice feed from Jared McCann and backhanded a shot through Dan Vladar’s five-hole to put the Kraken up 1-0. Despite scoring against their team, fans throughout the building chanted “Gio”.
Giordano continued to have an impact on the game, playing over 22 minutes and making several good defensive plays. He and his Kraken teammates walked away with a 4-3 victory, which marked their second win in three games to begin the preseason.
Flames Searching for a Victory
Unfortunately, last night’s loss puts the Flames at an early 0-3 record in the preseason. Of course, these games don’t mean a ton, but they need to put up some wins to gain some confidence as they inch closer to the 2021-22 season.
Last night’s lineup was by far closest to what the Flames’ lineup will look like when the regular season begins, as players like Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm played upfront. On the back end, head coach Darryl Sutter dressed Rasmus Andersson, Juuso Valimaki, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Michael Stone and Oliver Kylington, which is a very good blue line for an exhibition match.
There’s no need to worry about the loss, as the Kraken had many of their regulars in the lineup as well, like Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz, and McCann upfront. On the blue line, head coach Dave Hakstol dressed Giordano, Adam Larsson and had their starting netminder, Philipp Grubauer, between the pipes.
What’s Ahead for Calgary
The Flames have Thursday off but will take on the Vancouver Canucks in a home tilt on Friday night, followed by a game against the Kraken in Seattle on Saturday. After that, they will have only three exhibition games remaining, starting with the Edmonton Oilers before the final two games against the Winnipeg Jets.
After that final game against the Jets on Oct. 8, Flames fans will have to wait eight days until their team’s season opener against the Oilers at Rogers Place. It isn’t the easiest matchup to begin the season, but after that contest, they will play their home opener on Oct. 18 versus a much easier opponent in the Anaheim Ducks. A few days later, they will face off against the Detroit Red Wings. Given all the question marks surrounding the team right now, they will need to get off to a hot start to keep the pressure from increasing.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.