After six straight season opener losses, the Calgary Flames barged into the 2009-10 campaign with a hard-fought 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
"It’s the first game of the season at home, even though there are some things that weren’t that good, there were also a lot of positives tonight, which is a real good thing," said head coach Brent Sutter.
One of those positives? The Flames fourth line. The "energy line", comprised of Brandon Prust, Eric Nystrom and Fredrik Sjostrom, was the team's most consistent group all night.
|Fredrik Sjostrom earned himself his first point as a Flame during Calgary's 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. |
"They played extremely well, they brought the energy, they made plays and when they were on the ice they spent a good portion of their time by the opposing teams net," Sutter remarked.
"Obviously they had a big goal too, I was happy with all three of them."
The goal Sutter was referring to was Prust's game winner in the second period. Dragging the puck from the corner, Prust gave the Flames their fourth marker of the night with a beautiful wrap-around goal that slid past a prone Roberto Luongo at 9:34.
"In the preseason he was the disher," laughed Sjostrom.
"He stepped it up tonight for sure. It's a lot of fun for him. He's a guy that works really hard and he deserves it."
Nystrom, who got the game started with a thunderous hit on Ryan Johnson deep in Vancouver territory, couldn't say enough about Prust.
"That guy, he’s very deceptively skilled and I always say that," Nystrom stressed.
"I played with him in the minor leagues. Some guys don’t realize how good he is with the puck but you watch him and he just makes good plays all the time. He always does. That’s why he’s an underrated player and he scored a beauty tonight that was the game winner.”
The goal was Prust's second in his career. He potted his first NHL marker last October against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"We just wanted to do our job out there – get pucks out and get pucks in," said the 25 year-old.
"We did that well, we got pucks deep and cycled it around. We were taking pucks to the net and fortunately we got a goal out of it."
That simplicity in play is something Nystrom sees as the key to success for both his line and the team as a whole.
"The two guys I play with are fast players and they hound the puck better than anybody. Once we got control of it, the guys were playing strong and we were just making simple plays. Getting it out to the point and they were just shooting it at the net. It’s such a simple game and it’s good when you play with strong guys who can control the puck."
For Sjostrom, it's all about the basics.
"We just want to make sure we spend a lot of time in their zone. I thought we played simple, we didn’t try to be too fancy and cycle the puck a lot. And it worked."