Trevor Letowski scored the lone Blue Jacket goal and Marc Denis stopped 35-of-38 shots, but the Calgary Flames emerged with a 3-1 victory in the Jackets’ home opener at a sold out (18,136) Nationwide Arena on Friday night. The game marked the Jackets’107th sell out in 164 home games.
The two teams skated to a scoreless tie through the first period, and Dan Fritsche nearly broke the draw taking a quick pass in front of the net in the waning seconds of the opening stanza, only to be denied by Mikka Kiprusoff.
The Flames’ Shean Donovan finally broke the stalemate, scoring to put Calgary on top with a 1-0 lead. The Jackets tied the score just 27 seconds into the third period when Letowski’s rebound attempt deflected off of a Calgary defender and behind Kiprusoff, knotting the score at one.
Radoslav Suchy put the original shot on net, which Kiprusoff saved, with Nikolai Zherdev and Letowski scrambling for the rebound. Zherdev deflected the puck and Letowski banged it home for the Jackets’ first power-play goal of the night.
The Flames regained the advantage later in the third, as Daymond Langkow scored the game winner on a rebound of a Jarome Iginla attempt, to give Calgary a 2-1 lead. Darren McCarty scored with time winding down as Denis tried to clear the ice to pull on the extra attacker to account for the final score.
Calgary out shot the Jackets, 38-20 and finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while killing off all eight power-play attempts by the Flames.
Head coach Gerard Gallant:
On Marc Denis…
“Marc played super for us tonight. He kept us in the game for the first two periods. He was solid in the net tonight.”
On the game…
“We didn’t play too physical. We played a cute game tonight. We played maybe 30 minutes of good hockey.”
“Tonight was very disappointing. I thought we were up for the game, we played hard for the first seven or eight minutes. Then we had to kill off a lot of penalties.”
Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Luke Richardson:
Commenting on Tonight's game….
"We came out a little slow in the first period and that took away from getting our energy going in the second. We had a real gut check after the second period and we came out with a better effort in the third. We have to make sure that everybody believes that when they come into this rink it's going to be sixty minutes of hard work against us."
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Marc Denis :
Commenting on his performance in net tonight…
"You guys know by now that I won't be satisfied until we get a win. All in all it was fun to be out there; unfortunately we didn't come out the way we wanted. We really put ourselves behind the eight ball pretty early and that hurt us."