Burn, baby, burn

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The thought of a 5-0 win in the new NHL conjures up certain images.

You can't help but picture run-and-gun play. See tic-tac-toe goals.

Imagine flowing beauty on the ice.

Welcome to the Calgary Flames version, where you grind your opposition into submission and then put the boots to 'em for good measure.

Last night's thumping of the Edmonton Oilers shouldn't have surprised anybody. The Oilers arrived at the Saddledome for the pre-season tilt with a lineup missing Ryan Smyth, Chris Pronger, Michael Peca, Jason Smith, Shawn Horcoff and pretty much any hope for a victory.

Especially since the Flames went with a veteran-laden crew, which likely lacked four or five players who'll take to the ice when the season opens Oct. 5.

Most notably, it was a lineup led by what's expected to be the top trio of Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Tony Amonte.

Instead, though, it was the foot soldiers that made the difference to the delight of the announced 17,439 at the Saddledome.

For proof, note it was gritty vet Stephane Yelle who opened the scoring midway through the clash, knocking a loose puck out of the air after Darren McCarty brought the biscuit to the cage and played bull in a china shop.

"I just got lucky with a baseball swing," Yelle joked. "That's the kind of game we'll play, keep things simple, get the puck to the net and crash the net."

That slim lead was held until the game neared the middle of the third period and then the wood choppers went to town.

In a five-minute span, Chris Simon scored twice, while Shean Donovan and Dion Phaneuf added singles to turn what had been a close, tight-checking clash into a rout.

"I think I finally got my feet going, was driving the net. It wasn't end to end or anything but it's fun to score," smiled Simon. "That's where I've got to make a living, around the front of the net and in the corners. With the new rules, you don't have a defenceman holding on to you, hooking you, obstructing you. You have a little bit of room to take the puck to the net and make a play. I think the rules are helping not only the skilled guys but guys like me, too."

And now the Flames have but one more outing on the docket -- tomorrow night in Vancouver -- before the real action begins.

Question is, are they ready for prime time?

Based on the scoreboard last night, you'd say the answer is a resounding yes.

But that fact it took more than 50 minutes for the strong Flames roster to overpower a much young Oilers crew could be cause for alarm.

Could be but GM/head coach Darryl Sutter wasn't worried about the optics.

"Two things we wanted to work on was our forecheck and not taking any penalties between the bluelines and we were really good at it," he said. "I didn't think we had a slow start. Why was it a slow start? What is a good start? I thought we were really good. We didn't give up anything and had opportunities."

Certainly proving he's ready to go was goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who blocked 19 shots in delivering his team's second goose egg of the pre-season, both of which came against the Oilers.

At the other end, Edmonton's Ty Conklin stopped 22 shots while taking the loss.


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