Oilers/Flames: Five Things We Learned After Game 1

I now understand why my dad would yell at the TV when the Oilers were playing when I was a kid because I was doing it last night. Not once, not twice, but ~three times a lady~… I mean, three times did I yell at my TV and with each shout came the name…


The final time even brought forth a jump and punch into the air ala Little Mac from the classic 8-bit Nintendo game, Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

The Oilers/Flames game followed up on a 7-2 Toronto Maple Leafs win over the Winnipeg Jets where Connor McDavid’s cross-country rival Auston Matthews put up 3 pts. I didn’t get to watch all of that game but it was a shitshow nevertheless. The reason I bring up that game is because whenever the Maple Leafs and Oilers play on the same night and Matthews has a good game, I wonder to myself how Connor will return Matthews’ serve and last night McDavid returned it with some heat.

Game, set, match to McDavid.

Getting back to the actual game that Connor McDavid dominated. I envy those that were lucky enough to witness it live. That game would’ve been outstanding to see in person.

Before we get into the five things we learned, let’s re-live that magical from Connor McDavid.


  • Connor McDavid’s newest endeavor… The Rocket Richard Trophy!

I’ve only ever witnessed another player dominate professional sports like Connor McDavid is doing now and that is Lionel Messi. Every time Messi gets the ball magic happens and that is the same as Connor. Whenever he gets the puck you need to prepare an extra set of underwear in case he pulls off some move that makes you evacuate your bowels in amazement.

I truly hope that one of McDavid’s goals this year is to win the Rocket Richard Trophy. Throw that in the face of the Matthews’ supporters and the Crosby lovers. Truth be known, I like Matthews and Crosby and what better entertainment would it be to have the three of them going head-to-head for the Rocket Richard and the Art Ross?

  • Zack Kassian can play in the top 6 and be effective.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly expect to see Kassassination in the top 6 last night and as soon as I did see him up with Lucic and Nuge my first thought was that the coach had seen enough of Kailer Yamamoto. But actually, Zack Kassian had a pretty decent game for the Oilers last night. He ended the evening with 5 PIMs, 3 shots, and 1 hit.

I wonder if we see Kassian up with Nuge and Looch a bit more vs. the Canucks this weekend…

  • Drake Caggiula is an absolute buzzsaw. 8 hits last night!!!

THIS was the Caggiula I wanted to see all pre-season. He was hitting everything in sight and it got me fired up for him! This was part of the reason Jordan Eberle was shipped out to Brooklyn. When he wasn’t scoring, there was nothing else to his game. The Drake gave zero f*cks as to who he hit, he found a Flame, put him in his sights and lowered the boom. I loved it!

Caggiula’s line was solid too. I was really impressed with Jokinen and his positioning and hockey IQ. Ryan Strome didn’t do a whole lot but was effective and didn’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

  • Kailer Yamamoto was completely out of his element last night which was highlighted by his TOI at the end of the evening. A paltry 6:33. 

That’s two anonymous games in a row for Yamamoto and you can’t even blame it on the Oilers taking too many penalties or spending a lot of time on the power play. It is clear to me that the NHL is moving far too fast for him right now, it’s too heavy, and he’s having trouble adapting quickly but we should be fair to him because even though the Flames had a poor game, they are a good team and a physical team at that. Perhaps Yamamoto will have better luck vs. the Canucks in a couple of days.

I’ll tell you what though, that little tete-a-tete he had going with Kris Versteeg off the faceoff (In the 2nd period I think) made me happy. He didn’t back down from the NHL vet at all. Not that Kris Versteeg is anybody to be afraid of or anything. But just that he not only took what Versteeg had to give but he gave it back is a good sign.

  • Oscar Klefbom might be a Norris Trophy candidate by season’s end if he keeps up efforts like the one he showed us last night and stays healthy. He had 9 shots on goal!!!

More like carpet bom… He was on fire last night! I mean, how about that shot that nearly took Smith’s head off? Wowzas!!! He had 12 tallies last season, can he improve on that this year? If he’s going to be sending 7+ shots on net every game, I expect him to be keeping pace with Brent Burns.

On a side note, how good was the defense last night? Wow! Completely shut down the Flames offense apart from a little push in the 3rd from Monahan’s line. Klefbom’s partner Adam Larsson was particularly impressive.

A few other things that I really enjoyed about last night’s game against the Lames:

  • Pat Maroon getting right into Mike Smith’s grill.
  • The #MEGATHREAD that was started by our good friend @theoilknight. Give him a follow. He provides good info on OHL prospects as well as a fresh take on the Oilers.
  • Cam Talbot absolutely robbing Sean Monahan late in the game.
  • When Lucic wallpapered that Flame which in turn lead to McDavid’s hat-trick goal. Looch looks a bit faster, no?

Do you think that the Edmonton Oilers served notice to the entire NHL last night that it’s going to be a long game for whoever is playing the Oilers on any given evening? 45 shots was it? Against one of the best defenses (apparently) in the NHL now?

What I’m really looking forward to is the first time the Oilers play the Maple Leafs because the Leafs are shaping up to be an offensive juggernaut whereas the Oilers have learned to play a tight defensive game but have the world’s best offensive hockey player on their team…

What did you think about the game? Who stood out for you and what was your favorite highlight of the game? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter/Facebook!

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • oilfan73

    Other than the hit Lucic had to lead to McDavids 3rd goal he looked, like a tugboat. Needs to grab another gear. Look for Yamamoto to have a good game against the Canucks on Saturday. One game is pretty tough to judge a kid. Whole team looked solid IMO. Going to be a good year for Oiler fans if we can stay healthy.