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Flames fall to Oilers in season opener

Calgary tallies two shorthanded goals in setback

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

EDMONTON, AB -- Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist in his first game as captain to help the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-4 win to officially open Rogers Place on Monday. 
 
Patrick Maroon, Tyler Pitlik, Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers (1-0-0), who moved into the $600-million arena that replaces Rexall Place -- home to the Oilers since 1974.
 
Alex Chiasson, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik and Dennis Wideman scored, and Brian Elliott made 22 saves for the Flames (0-1-0). 

"We would've liked to have been a little further ahead than we showed tonight," Brouwer said. "It's always going to be a work in progress. We're not making excuses. Tonight, by far, was not good enough. But we do have guys in here that have the desire to get better, to work harder, to make sure that collectively we're getting better and moving forward."
 
The Flames and Oilers meet at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday in the back end of the home-and-home series to start the season. 

Video: CGY@EDM: Frolik goes five-hole for shorthanded goal
 
"Tonight was not how we wanted to start the season, but we get to see these guys again in two days," Brouwer said. "That's the beauty of this game. We'll spend a lot of time tomorrow working on our game, working on our systems, working on ourselves, and going into Friday night's game more prepared."
 
McDavid helped put Edmonton up by two with his first of the season at 12:17 of the second period. Andrej Sekera's initial point shot went wide, but McDavid gathered the carom off the end boards and chipped a backhand by Elliott to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead.
 
He scored again on a penalty shot at 14:33. McDavid slowed up in the slot and deked before shooting by Elliott's blocker to extend the Oilers' lead to 5-3. 
 
Puljujarvi scored his first NHL goal nine minutes into the third to give Edmonton a 6-3 lead, and Wideman scored his first of the season on the power play at 11:29 on a one-time setup by TJ Brodie.  
 
Eberle scored into an empty net with 1:22 remaining in regulation.
 
"It was one of those things ... what could go wrong did go wrong," Elliott said. "It's not the way you want to start the season ... it doesn't matter if there's a new team or a new coach ... anything. You don't want to start a season like that. The good thing is we've got these guys back at home. We'll get back to the drawing board and we'll get a win at home."
 
Maroon opened the scoring 1:10 into the game on Edmonton's first shot, but Chiasson tied the game 36 seconds later on Calgary's second shot. 

Chiasson scored 36 seconds later on Calgary's second shot. He circled out from behind the net and had his initial wraparound stopped by Cam Talbot, but Chiasson scored on the rebound to tie the game 1-1 at 1:46.
 
Pitlick restored Edmonton's lead at 5:34, and Kassian extended the lead to 3-1 with 4:48 remaining in the first. He took a breakaway pass from Oscar Klefbom before dekeing forehand-to-backhand to beat Elliott. 

Brouwer tallied his first goal in Calgary silks when he intercepted a pass attempt from Leon Draisaitl while shorthanded. The Flames forward walked around Eberle and beat Talbot low to cut the Oilers lead to 3-2.

Frolik added to the Flames' shorthanded total just 2:25 later when he followed up a Mikael Backlund attempt and stuffed home a rebound which temporarily tied the game 3-3. Calgary's penalty kill, 30th in the NHL last season, went 5-for-6, with two goals for, against the Oilers.
 
Goal of the game: Brouwer went in on a breakaway and faked before shooting over Talbot's glove after picking off a cross-ice pass from Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl to pull the Flames to within one goal in the second period.
 
Save of the game: Elliott made a glove save on Eberle's one-timer just outside the crease after a setup by McDavid 6:21 into the second to keep Calgary within two.
 
Unsung moment of the game: Wideman lifted Eberle's stick with the puck loose in the crease and Elliott turned around following a McDavid burst three minutes into the third to help keep Calgary within two.
 
Highlight of the game: McDavid was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a partial breakaway by Wideman. Skating in, McDavid faked before shooting low blocker on Elliott for his second of the game with 5:27 left in the second period. 
 
They said it: "Too many turnovers. We were careless with the puck a lot of the times. Especially against a team like this they're going to make you pay. Second goal was a 2-on-1. Third goal was a breakaway. Then we give up a penalty shot. We were just careless with the puck. We didn't put it in good areas. We thought we were going to try to make plays at the blue line. We just fed their turnover game all night long." -Flames forward Troy Brouwer
 
"It's disappointing, but you can't get hung up on it. It's one game. We were a little scrambled out there at times and gave them what they got. If we clean up those things and we'll be alright." -Flames goaltender Brian Elliott on rebounding quickly.
 
"We talked today about not getting into a track meet. Today, that's a track meet. We're going to have to learn to be more direct. When I say direct, we're going to have to just get pucks to the net, drive pucks in deep. We had a lot of plays at the blue line today that fed their attack. We've got to clean that out of our game." -Flames coach Glen Gulutzan
 
Need to know: Puljujarvi, the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and Matthew Tkachuk, the No. 6 pick, each made their NHL debuts in the game. Defencemen Brett Kulak and Jyrki Jokipakka and forward Freddie Hamilton were scratched for Calgary. Defencemen Mark Fayne and Matthew Benning, and forward Anton Lander were scratched for the Oilers.  
 
What's next: Oilers: At the Flames on Friday (SN360, SN1, NHL.TV). Flames: Host the Oilers on Friday (SN360, SN1, NHL.TV).

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