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Flames at Oilers preview

Smith, Hamonic to make Calgary debuts; Yamamoto to play first NHL game for Edmonton

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

FLAMES (0-0-0) at OILERS (0-0-0)

10 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV


The Game

Goaltender Mike Smith and defenseman Travis Hamonic will each make his debut for the Calgary Flames. Smith was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 17 and Hamonic was acquired in a trade with the New York Islanders on June 24.

Forward Ryan Strome, acquired in a trade from the Islanders for right wing Jordan Eberle on June 22, will make his Edmonton Oilers debut. Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto will play in his first NHL game. Yamamoto, 19, was the No. 22 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. 

Edmonton won all four regular-season games against Calgary last season, the first time a team has swept the Battle of Alberta since Calgary won all five games against Edmonton in 2014-15. The Oilers are 3-2-0 in season openers against the Flames. Last season marked the first time since 2006 the Oilers and Flames each qualified for Stanley Cup playoffs in the same season. Calgary has not had back-to-back playoff appearances since 2008-09, and Edmonton has not had back-to-back trips to the postseason since 2000-01.


Players to watch

Oilers center Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer last season with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists). McDavid, the reigning Hart Trophy winner as the NHL's most valuable player, led the League in preseason scoring with 10 points (three goals, seven assists). Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau led Calgary in scoring last season with 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists) in 72 games, and led Calgary with five points (two goals, three assists) in four preseason games.

They said it

"[Milan Lucic] told me to have fun and enjoy the day. It's only going to happen once and to make sure I'm enjoying it and make sure I'm working hard." -- Yamamoto on his NHL debut

"Anyone who has played against Arizona in the last few years always had to game plan for [Mike Smith], because not only can he move pucks, he gets to a lot of pucks, too. We think our transition game and the time we're spending in our defensive zone will go down, because he's able to move things around. He really is like another defenseman back there, he can pass the puck, he's not afraid to move it up." -- Flames coach Glen Gulutzan on Smith's puck-moving ability


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland 

Mathew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik 

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Tanner Glass -- Matt Stajan -- Garnet Hathaway 

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

T.J. Brodie -- Travis Hamonic 

Michael Stone -- Brett Kulak

Mike Smith 

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski 

Injured: None 


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl 

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Kailer Yamamoto

Drake Caggiula -- Ryan Strome -- Jussi Jokinen 

Jujhar Khaira -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian 

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson 

Kris Russell -- Matt Benning 

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba 

Cam Talbot 

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Iiro Pakarinen, Yohann Auvitu

Injured: None 


Status report

The Oilers assigned forward Anton Slepyshev to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League for conditioning purposes after he missed the entire preseason with an ankle injury … Glass signed a one-year contract on Wednesday and will make his Calgary debut.


Stat pack

Edmonton is 9-4-0 in their past 13 season openers and is 16-8-3 in season openers at home. … Calgary was 0-3-1 against the Oilers last season. … Yamamoto had seven points (five goals, two assists) in six preseason games. … The Flames have not won a season opener in seven years (0-6-1). 

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