Scoring a breakaway goal in his Calgary Flames debut, journeyman Jason Jaffray couldn't have asked for a better first impression.
A win would have been nice, of course, but in the 4-1 pre-season loss to the Edmonton Oilers last night at the Saddledome, standing out in front of the coaching staff was even more important.
"That's all you can really do is hope you can produce when you get the opportunity," said Jaffray, who snapped his shot past Devan Dubnyk on the powerplay midway through the third period after a long pass from Jamie Lundmark.
"You don't know how many pre-season games you're going to get in."
Tapped to man the point on the man-advantage, Lund- mark must have caught head coach Brent Sutter's eye as well.
And no forward played more than the energetic Dustin Boyd, who will be battling with the likes of Lundmark for top-six duties for the Flames this season.
But it was a defenceman working on a two-way contract who seemed to most impress the new bench boss.
Playing more than 27 minutes to lead the Flames in ice time was Swede Anton Stralman.
He edged blueline partner Staffan Kronwall by about a minute of action.
"I thought Stralman was very good tonight," said Sutter.
"Kronnie was OK, but I thought Strallie might have been the best player on the ice."
On the Oilers' side, Patrick O'Sullivan was deemed his team's best by head coach Pat Quinn.
But don't give O'Sullivan too much credit for his two-goal outing.
They came a bit easy.
Flames goaltending prospect Matt Keetley was unlucky on the winner -- a Mike Comrie shot from a bad angle that banked in off O'Sullivan early in the second period -- but he'd love to have another crack at the wrister that found the far side behind him to open the scoring in the first period.
"We got kind of an easy goal, the first one," said Quinn. "I think it set them back a bit."
Facing an Oilers goaltending tandem of Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and Dubnyk, the Flames had their chances.
Neither netminder was beat until Jaffray's breakaway got the best of Dubnyk.
Especially strong were Boyd and David Moss on the first line, and the second-line stars Lundmark and Kyle Greentree.
Tom Gilbert netted a powerplay goal for the Oilers, and Shawn Horcoff earned an empty-netter in the final minute to round out the scoring.
"Obviously we've got a lot to work on," said Moss.
"The effort was there, it's just a matter of executing some things a bit better. There were times guys were a little bit out of position.
"It's early, that's gonna happen. It's just a matter of correcting it and making sure it doesn't happen again."