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Game Thread: Flames vs Oilers - Finally Some Meaningful Hockey

The season is here! The season is here! The season is here! The season is here!

Derek Leung

Finally the wait is over, for the first time since April (actually early November of 2013) the Oilers will take to the ice in a game that actually means something. The preseason is nice, and some hockey is generally better than no hockey, but you just can't beat the real thing. And regardless of what you think of the team's chances, opening night is always a fun night for the fans of every team. Except maybe for the fans of the Flames because they're losers, but you get the idea.

How To Tune In

Sportsnet 360 will have the game tonight. If for some reason you can't find a television where you're at then you can follow along on 630 CHED.

What To Watch For With The Oilers

Leon Draisaitl, ladies and gentlemen. The Oilers' most recent first round pick will be playing in his first NHL game tonight. He might not be a good bet to handle the role of the team's second line centre, and it might not make sense to start his Entry Level Contract this year, but tonight, for at least one night, we can surely look past that and just enjoy a player fulfilling what has to lifelong dream.

On his show this afternoon, Jason Gregor said that Draisaitl's parents won't be at the game tonight because he didn't want them booking a trip until he'd made the team. I respect that. Hopefully he has a great game, and wherever they are his parents can tune in to see it happen.

What To Watch For With The Flames

As it turns out not much. With Sam Bennett out for four to six months the Flames are even less interesting now than they were before. Here's Matchsticks & Gasoline's take on the injury:

When we last left off, we weren't sure what the outcome was going to be for Sam Bennett. We knew he had a shoulder injury, that he'd played through it for a while, dating back as far as his time in Kingston, and that he was probably going to be out for a while. What we didn't know was if he was going to have surgery or not.

Well, now we know he is.

All the pull-up jokes are real dumb now, huh.

Shocking as it might seem, I really feel bad for Flames fan in this ... nope I can't say it with a straight face.

Line Combinations

Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Leon Draisaitl - Nail Yakupov
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne
Brad Hunt - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Calgary Flames

Curtis Glencross - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Mason Raymond - Mikael Backlund - Lance Bouma
Johnny Gaudreau - Joe Colborne - Paul Byron
Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Ladislav Smid - Rafa Diaz
Kris Russell - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Final Thoughts

  • This will be the first home opener that I've missed in, I don't know how long; I know I've been to the last nine for sure and a couple more before that. It's a very strange feeling to not be heading to the arena right now.
  • With a couple road games coming up next, at Vancouver and Los Angeles, it would be nice to get off to a good start with a solid beating of the Flames. Even if the Oilers drop those next two at least we'd have this game to look back on.
  • If the Oilers don't win tonight we will know two things for sure: analytics don't work and this is all Tyler Dellow's fault.
  • And if you haven't already done so, make sure to get your prediction for tonight's final score in ASAP. There are prizes to be won.