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Game Notes: Nolan dons an 'A'

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
Observations, notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Calgary Flames season opener against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers...

Nolan dons an A

The Flames started the season with a new assistant captain in Owen Nolan, a free-agent signing during the summer. Robyn Regehr wore the other assistant's A. Jarome Iginla, of course, wore the C.

Nolan was a captain in San Jose when Darryl Sutter, the Flames GM, was a coach with the Sharks. The 35-year-old Nolan played last season in Phoenix and Thursday's opener was the 992nd game of his career. He entered the game with 775 points, including 365 goals.

The Flames are planning to use four assistant captains this season on a rotating basis -- the others are veterans Stephane Yelle and Rhett Warrener.

Langkow tips home Flames first goal of season

Philadelphia Flyers' Braydon Coburn, left, sends Calgary Flames' Daymond Langkow into the Flames bench during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh,The Canadian Press)
Forward Daymond Langkow tipped a hard Dion Phaneuf point shot past Flayers goalie Martin Biron on the Flames first power play of the season (they had to wait until the second period), making the score 2-1 at 6:30.

 Flames Cast 04/10/07 -- Post Game with Mike Keenan  

Jarome Iginla and Phaneuf collected the assists on the first official tally of the season for the Flames.

Langkow scored his second of the night on a third period power play, tipping home a perfect feed from Alex Tanguay.

Briere strikes first

The Flayers dipped into the free agent market and made a huge splash in the off-season by luring Daniel Briere away from the Buffalo Sabres to boost an offence that struggled the previous season. Briere, now one of the highest paid players in the NHL, responded by scoring the Flyers first goal of the season, banging home a rebound after a rebound attempt at 3:12 of the first period. He finished the period with four shots on net.

His fifth shot of the game was the killer, though. He was sprung on a breakaway late in the third period after a neutral zone giveaway by the Flames and he beat Miikka Kiprusoff with a perfectly-placed, top corner wrist shot that proved to be the game-winner.

Drop 'em

Flames tough guy Eric Godard was rather quiet during the pre-season but wasted little time getting into the mix on Thursday. In the first period he dropped the mitts with Flyer Jesse Boulerice and landed all the punches. Godard's timing was pretty good -- his team was trailing 2-0 and needed a bit of a boost.

Boulerice made the Flyers as a camp tryout player, signing a contract just a day before he was pounded by Godard. Boulerice was initially drafted by the Flyers in 1996 and has had stints in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Carolina.

Godard was one of the few Flames to play in all eight pre-season games with the Flames.

The big crunch

Dion Phaneuf was back at it again, squeezing his opponent into a corner and drilling him into the boards. The unfortunate recipient Thursday as Joffrey Lupul, who was pounded into the boards in the Flames zone midway through the first period as a reminder that this is no longer the pre-season but rather for real.

Close second to Adrian Aucoin for his belt on Daniel Briere late in the third period.

This and that

The Flames were a not so impressive 22 per cent in the face-off circle in the first period. No Flame wn more than three face-offs in the period. Flyer Mike Richards won six, and lost just one for an 86 per cent success rate in the same period...The Flames scratches were D David Hale and F Warren Peters. F David Moss is out with an arm injury...Fames head coach Mike Keenan wasted little time in juggling his lines. Daymond Langkow started on the second line but was moved to the first line, replacing Craig Conroy between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay...Mathew Lombardi was also promoted from third line duty, seeing time on the second  line starting in the second period...
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