That's why they call it pre-season.
With many of the Flames top prospects still playing the Canucks in Victoria Monday night, a veteran-laden lineup fell 3-2 in overtime at the Scotiabank Saddledome as part of split-squad game between the two rivals.
The score made the game seem much closer than it was.
The ice was heavily tilted all night, the homeside outshooting the visitors by a whooping 38-13 margin, while controlling play and generating the vast majority of the scoring chances.
Former Hitmen star Jake Virtanen had the tying tally in a two-goal third period for the Canucks before going on to pot the OT winner.
Johnny Gaudreau, fittingly enough, opened the pre-season scoring for the Flames.
Fans are used to seeing the offensive dynamo - who had a career-high 36 goals and 99 points last season - weave his wand and produce Gandalf-esque magic, whether it's putting the puck in the net himself or depositing it with laser-like precision to the tape of a teammate's stick for a beautiful setup.
However, after TJ Brodie rushed up to snap the puck in the Canucks zone, rimming it around, Gaudreau gathered it up at the other side of the ice and snapped a harmless-looking wrister from the boards way up by the blueline, sending it on a wire up-and-over the glove hand of Richard Bachman at the 7:30 mark.
Linemate Elias Lindholm - who skated alongside Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, as usual - collected the other helper.
It was the Flames eighth shot of the game - the Canucks had yet to get a puck on net.
In fact, it took a full 12:20 of play until the visitors finally tested David Rittich.
When the first 20 expired, the shots on goal looked more like a lopsided CFL halftime score: 17-2.
The Flames had eight or nine top-flight chances in the first.
Highly-heralded off-season newcomer Milan Lucic skated on a line with centre Derek Ryan and youngster Jakob Pelletier. The big winger nearly potted his first in Flames silks when he just missed smacking in a rebound from the side net on the powerplay. Earlier in the play he had skated the puck up and into the zone, before curling around with a great pass to the point before heading to the paint.
Midway through the second period - with no goals allowed on four shots during a 'light' night in the net, Rittich made his way to the bench, Cam Talbot coming in to finish out the tilt and also get his first game minutes as a Flame.
Sam Bennett - who had a strong outing - battled hard to win a puck in the corner with a big hit, before getting a pass out to Michael Frolik, who took a few strides and beat Bachman short-side on the team's 28th shot of the night to make it 2-0.
The Canucks got on the board just over five minutes into the final frame when Mitch Eliot's point-shot managed to squeeze between Talbot's wickets and dribble into the net.
With 4:19 left to play, Former Calgary Hitmen star Jake Virtanen picked up a puck after turnover near centre ice, skating into the zone and snapping the puck short-side to tie the game up and eventually force overtime.
Gaudreau, Monahan and reigning Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano started extra time, generating two great chances, Monahan just missing an open net on a rebound.
After another Calgary possession, the Canucks picked off a pass and went up ice with Virtanen dealing the dagger.
Video: "Good things to take out of it"
During the first intermission, Flames TV's Alanna Nolan caught up with recently re-signed Andrew Mangiapane to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.
Video: "Definitely excited to get the season going"
Meanwhile in Victoria ...
The Canucks may have officially been the home team on Monday but it was Matthew Phillips' night in Victoria.
The forward, who spent his entire WHL career with the Victoria Royals and posted 281 points in 215 games, received a warm welcome from the home crowd ahead of what would be a 4-3 Flames victory.
After earning a standing ovation when his name was announced in the starting lineup, the crowd roared after he assisted on the game's opening tally. Zipping in after linemate Dillon Dube steamrolled Adam Gaudette in the neutral zone, Phillips took a quick pass from Brandon Davidson and put the puck on net. Dube, coming in late, scooped up the rebound and shoveled it past Michael DiPietro.
Later on, in a first period TV timeout, the Royals honoured their former captain with a tribute video that brought the capacity crowd to its feet once again.
While not officially on the scoresheet, Phillips played into the Flames second goal of the evening as well. With Calgary on the powerplay, the winger snapped a shot on net from the top of the circle and Austin Czarnik was able to corral the rebound. He dipped around Vancouver's penalty killers and ended up wristing a shot over DiPietro's shoulder to make it a 2-0 game.
With 7:45 remaining in the second period, Tyler Parsons replaced Artyom Zagidulin in net. The Russian netminder was once again perfect in his second North American appearance, stopping all 15 of the shots he faced. Last week, he pitched a shutout in the Flames' 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in their rookie game in Red Deer.
Czarnik gave the Flames a 3-0 lead shortly after the netminder swap, snapping a shot past DiPietro from above the hashmarks. Tobias Rieder, attending training camp on a PTO, picked up the assist after he dished it off to Czarnik from the Flames blueline.
The Canucks went with Zane McIntyre in goal in the third period and the Flames were able to quickly capitalize on the 27-year-old netminder. Rasmus Andersson snapped a shot off from the point that evaded McIntyre to give the Flames their fourth goal of the evening.
Loui Eriksson was able to get the Canucks on the board at 2:59 of the third period, snagging the rebound from Guillaume Brisebois' shot from the blueline and getting it around Parsons.
Josh Teves and Bo Horvat scored late in the game to draw the Canucks within a goal but the Flames were able to weather the storm and hold on for the victory.
Video: "It was an unbelievable night"
The Flames play host to Pacific Division rival San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, game time is 7 p.m. Click here for tickets