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Tkachuk ready for Saddledome debut

The Flames rookie

by Jason Johnson @Jay__Jo /

CALGARY, AB -- Matthew Tkachuk looked like a cross between a Rottweiler and a Pit Bull when he skated in his NHL debut at Rogers Place on Wednesday.

He certainly didn't look like he had a grand total of zero games on his NHL resume.

"I don't know if it was just because it was the first game or whatever but it wasn't too big of an adjustment," said Tkachuk, fresh off the ice from the morning skate at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday. "I felt that it was good for me. I felt at home out there and felt like I belonged out there. I felt I made some impact, too. I just want to keep that up."

The 18-year-old rookie dished out a number of bone-crushing hits and was in the face of the Oilers all night long.

Tkachuk hit the scoresheet in no time at all, either. In his first NHL shift, the feisty winger was whistled for boarding on a check that sent former Flames' blueliner Kris Russell into the corner in a heap.

"I don't really think about it that much. Everybody finishes checks and does that stuff and just plays hard and in your face," Tkachuk said. "I want to just be around the net and shoot pucks and create opportunities in the offensive zone with my linemates."

Mission accomplished.

Although Tkachuk failed to register a point Wednesday, the 2016 first round pick had two hits and two shots with plenty of scoring chances in his 12:30 of ice time.

Tkachuk flanked the left side of Calgary's second unit with Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer, a trio that resembled the Legion of Doom in the pre-season.

"I hope that I keep putting pucks on net and keeping around the net. I had a good amount of chances to score. As long as I keep that up eventually they are going to go in."

The same line will hit the ice tonight again against those same Oilers but in the confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Tkachuk admitted it was a little different playing on the road to open the season but he's looking forward to getting back on 'Dome ice tonight.

"Last game was my first road game including the pre-season so that was a little bit of an adjustment," he said. "I've played at home here three times so I definitely feel at home and know what to expect out there and no what to expect from the fans."

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