The Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks by a 3-0 in their home opener on Saturday night at the Saddledome. Here are selected reactions following the game.

The team loves Rittich, Rittich loves the team

It’s easy to give credit to the goaltender in a game where he allows zero goals. In a game where David Rittich got a shutout and made 34 saves, many of them very timely, defender Travis Hamonic gave his netminder a lot of praise.

Ritter, he’s such a fun guy. You guys don’t see it. He’s obviously talking a lot on the ice. He’s cool, calm and collected in there. He’s cracking some jokes in the middle of the play and things like that. He’s obviously a really fun guy to play in front of. He battles tremendously hard in there and as a D-man, you want to play in front of people like that.

For his part, Rittich’s chat with the media saw him give a ton of credit to his team – particularly for “diving head-first” to block shots during the game. Rittich noted that shutouts are a team thing, something that’s not generally reflected in the stats pages (but probably should be).

Penalties derail the game

In Thursday’s game in Denver, the Flames took oodles of early penalties and gave the Colorado Avalanche a chance to grab hold of the game. In Saturday’s game, they didn’t let the game get away from them in the same way… but their coach still feels they spent too much time in the sin bin.

“Same type of thing as early in the game in game one: we took too many penalties,” said head coach Bill Peters. “We were 10-plus minutes in game one, 10 minutes again tonight. That’s too much. And they’re three in a row and they shift the momentum of the game. We’ve got to get that dialed in, and we will. Guys will see those on Monday. PK was real good.”

Peters was critical of his team’s power play performance. He noted the adjustment they’ve made so far this season – having Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan switch sides from the prior season – and thinks they’ll revisit that. His specific criticisms of his PP group involved being “too staticy” and not having enough action at the front of the net.

Tobias Rieder makes his Flames debut

Finally, Tobias Rieder made his first in-game appearance as a member of the Calgary Flames. He didn’t play a ton (10:34) and didn’t hit the scoresheet, but his coach feels he could be a big part of the team’s special teams going forward.

Toby was good. What did he end up with? 10 minutes. Does a lot of subtle things, pressures the puck, was good on the kill. I think he’s gonna form a real good tandem with Derek Ryan there. So it’ll be good if we can get Janko and Lindy where they were last year, and we can get Doc and Toby killing like we think they can, at the level that we think they can kill at, we’ll have a good penalty kill.

James Neal conditional draft pick watch

The Flames receive Edmonton’s third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft if James Neal scores 21 (or more) goals AND out-scores Milan Lucic by 10 (or more) goals.

  • James Neal goals: 2
  • Milan Lucic goals: 0