The last meaningless hockey game of 2019 has been played. The Calgary Flames triumphed over the Edmonton Oilers by a 3-2 score on Saturday evening in their final pre-season contest.
Here’s what was seen and heard at the ‘Dome following that gripping 60 minutes of ice hockey.
The ex-Oilers all score (except Cam Talbot)
It was a night to remember for the former Oilers on the Flames roster. Tobias Rieder scored twice. Milan Lucic scored once. Cam Talbot didn’t get into the game, but he likely provided the group with moral support.
Asked if Talbot had lobbied to get into the game after 40 minutes, Lucic chuckled.
“It would’ve been great to see if Tabs could’ve gotten in there, but it was just one of those things that it happened tonight,” said Lucic of the theme of the evening. “I think mainly for both of us, it was a good feeling to get the back of the net, to get that feeling before the regular season starts here. Got to do what we can to carry it over and build off that feeling.”
First Rieder goal in 366 days
According to NHL.com, the last time that Rieder scored a goal was in last year’s pre-season – Sept. 27, 2018. After 366 days without lighting the lamp against an NHL opponent, Rieder did it twice.
After the game, head coach Bill Peters praised the work from Rieder (and Lucic) in the game.
“With Toby, obviously the quality of the chances that he’s been generating here throughout the preseason have been high,” said Peters. “And again tonight it was a real good decision to shoot the puck, and then he’s going to the net. That’s kind of how he plays, so it was good to see. And then Looch is net front on the power play, so real good execution there. Real good faceoff win, and then Brodes does a good job putting in the wheelhouse for Andy, and Looch is where he needs to be. So, yeah, some good signs.”
Big Save Dave doing Big Save Dave things
We hope you’re sitting down while you’re reading this, but Flames top netminder David Rittich was pretty solid in net for yet another outing. He was the busiest he’s been in a pre-season game, facing 28 shots – many of them strong scoring chances.
Rittich was given the full 60 minutes in his final tune-up game, making 26 saves in the victory. The two goals he gave up were both in-close redirections, so it’s not like he was leaky.
With Derek Ryan out with an illness and Mikael Backlund absent in the back half of the game for precautionary reasons, the Flames relied upon Sam Bennett and Elias Lindholm up the middle. Post-game, Peters praised their play and noted that between the four regular pivots and Bennett and Lindholm, the Flames have six players they feel comfortable with playing up the middle.