New-look Flames can’t hold off Capitals push

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Alex Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin shoots on Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo (AP photo / Alex Brandon)

It’s a new season, with an almost brand new team. Sure, there are some old faces on the Flames roster, but there are a lot of young ‘uns on the list too. The inexperience of the team was evident tonight in the Flames 2013-2014 season opener, where they blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads to eventually lose in the shootout to the Washington Capitals.

The first 20 minutes of tonight’s game may have given delusional Flames fans something to hope for, but after dominating a sleepy Washington Capitals team for one period, the Flames momentum started to fall apart.

Trailing 3-0, the Capitals, lead by the always-energetic Alexander Ovechkin, scored three of their own goals (two from Ovechkin) in the 2nd period and added a 4th in the third period to send the game to overtime, and eventually a shootout, where they sealed the win. They scored on their first two shots in the shootout, while the Flames were blanked twice by back-up goalie Michal Neuvirth.

Despite the loss, there are positives the Flames can take from the game. First, they’re officially playing 500 hockey. That may be something we all dream about a few months from now. Second, Flames top draft pick, Sean Monahan got his first NHL point in his first NHL game. That’s always important to get a young star (?) off to a good start. Third, the Flames may not have matched the Capitals for skill, but they matched them for hustle. That in itself was good to see.

We’re used to seeing a tired and old Flames team, that struggles to keep up with younger, quicker NHL teams. Tonight that definitely wasn’t the case. The Flames were all over the ice, supported the puck when they needed to, and generally played well in 3 zones.

New Flames goalie (with HUGE shoes to fill) Karri Ramo faced 29 shots, and shut down the offensively-potent Washington Capitals for much of the game. He was solid in net, but it looked like the Capitals may have found a weakness in his game: side-to-side motion on the breakaway. Connor Carrick scored his first NHL goal on an out-of-the-penalty-box breakaway deke, and both Mikhail Grabovski and Ovechkin used the same move to score in the shootout.

So it looks like it might be a long season for us Flames fans, but it definitely wont be a sleepy one. If the Flames come out with this type of effort every night, I’ll be happy, whether we win or lose.

About Greg Hounslow (558 Posts)

Greg is the founder of Red Mile Blog has been following the Flames through good times and bad since they arrived in Calgary in the early 80s. He has written hundreds of articles on the Flames since 2005 and considers himself an expert on hockey inconsistency and frustration. He shoots right and usually plays defence, but has been known to jump up in the rush. He is a 2-time CAHL men's league champion and knows the sweet taste of beer from a Cup.


  • Olde Buffalo

    This year’s Flames offered much more than most fans expected. Their ability to stick to Hartley’s game plan (most of the time anyway) is going to be a necessity or this team is going to be outclassed by more experienced teams this year. That being said, last night’s game was a refreshing change from the boring game plan being forced on previous Flames teams by the Sutter brothers. They’re not going to win the Stanley Cup in their first year but they’re on the right track.

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