CALGARY – Hockey returned to the Pengrowth Saddledome Sunday after a six-month hiatus with a pre-season match-up between Calgary and Florida.
With a new coach behind the bench and new faces in a line-up that featured some veterans tuning up their games for the regular season and some younger players auditioning for the organization, the Flames doused the Panthers 3-1.
|Forward Lines |
|Huselius ||Boyd ||Kobasew |
|Germyn ||Lundmark ||Ritchie |
|Godard ||Moss ||Van Der Gulik |
|Chucko ||Lombardi ||Prust |
|Defence Pairings |
|Giordano ||Warrener || |
|B. Ference ||A. Ference || |
|Ri. Regehr ||Hamrlik || |
|Krahn ||McElhinney || |
The Flames didn't wait long to open the scoring as Kristian Huselius fed Chuck Kobasew from behind the net and Kobasew fired a hard wrist shot to the top shelf for a power play goal at 2:07 of the first period.
The same line scored 38 seconds into the second period when Dustin Boyd neatly roofed a shot from the side of the crease to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
Boyd, who spent the last four seasons in Moose Jaw of the WHL and who starred for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, is expected to start his pro career in the minors.
Playing in his first official game as a pro, he certainly didn't look out of place centering Huselius and Kobasew and gained more poise and confidence as the game progressed. Not to mention his goal stood as the winner.
"It was fun. Playing with those guys, they made it easy for me. It's like getting a monkey off your back to play in your first game and score a goal," said Boyd.
"I thought he played well," said Kobasew of his linemate. "I remember my first game. There are a lot of things to think about. It's great for him to get the game-winner."
Carsen Germyn scored off a goalmouth scramble at 4:58 of the second, again on the power play, to stake the Flames to a 3-1 lead.
Brent Krahn went the distance in goal for Calgary while veteran Ed Belfour started for the Panthers. Krahn, who spent last season with the Flames top affiliate in the American Hockey League, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, faced 37 shots.
"Brent played a good game. A lot of pucks hit him which means he was in good position," said head coach Jim Playfair following his NHL debut as a head coach..
Belfour left the game with 8:31 remaining in the second and was replaced by Jean-Marc Pelletier, who did not allow a goal.
Krahn was thrilled to play against Belfour, a longtime idol of the netminder.
"It was a dream come true to play against Ed Belfour," said Krahn. "I've watched him and idolized him for a long time so it was a thrill."
Florida captain Olli Jokinen showed he hasn't lost his scoring touch when he hammered a slapper past Krahn on the power play at 8:36 of the first period -- during which Krahn faced 19 shots.
And what's a pre-season game without some tangles? In the second period Flames pest Brandon Prust went to-to-toe with Panther Anthony Stewart and, despite giving up three inches in height and 33 pounds in weight, Prust landed the majority of the punches to take the decision. In the undercard Flames newcomer Brad Ference battled Nathan Horton of the Panthers to a draw late in the third period.
Overall, Playfair was happy with the team's play.
"I thought our players did a good job with the hard work part of the game," said Playfair. "As the game went on, we did more smart work with the puck."
ICING: Essentially the Flames and Florida dressed similar line-ups with six NHL forwards and four AHL forwards and four NHL defencemen and two AHL defencemen....There were five players who played for the Flames in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 on the ice Sunday -- three in Calgary garb and two wearing Florida colors. The Flames were Rhett Warrener, Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ference. The Florida players were Martin Gelinas and Steve Montador...In all, four ex-Flames dressed for the Panthers as Gelinas and Montador were joined by veterans Gary Roberts and former Flames captain Joe Nieuwendyk