Game Preview: Flames vs Vancouver Canucks

CALGARY FLAMES (25-22-8 58 points) vs. VANCOUVER CANUCKS (34-15-5 73 points) GAME #56

 

PREVIEW:

We celebrate a game today that means so much too so many Canadians and we are united by the beautiful game we call hockey for Hockey Day in Canada. The Canucks come into the dome tonight red hot, riding a 3 game winning streak while the Flames look to continue to push for that final playoff spot after losing Thursday night in Phoenix, 2-1 in OT. This is the fourth of six meetings between these Northwest division rivals, as the Canucks won the first two meetings with the combined score of 10-2 while the Flames took the last meeting 3-1 in Vancouver.

The Flames lost a tough game in Phoenix Thursday but managed to gain a very important 1 point and came away from their mini 3-game road trip with a possible 4 of 6 points (1-0-2). The road trip had its high and lows but in the big picture the Flames find themselves one place lower than they did a week ago, sitting 12th place in the West look up at Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota and Phoenix. They are also another man down for a long period of time as Blair Jones fractured his ankle killing the penalty in OT the Coyotes would eventually score on and is out indefinitely. In to replace him, the Flames recalled Roman Horak, who will see his first action with the club since Jan. 24.  

The Canucks are once again battling for the 1st place in the West and the President’s trophy while it’s safe to say they will win the Northwest division for the 4th consecutive year. The Canucks have been firing on all cylinders of late and will look to finish off their current road trip with a perfect 4-0 record. The Canucks suffered a scare Tuesday night in Nashville as Captain Henrik Sedin took a shot off his ankle and was seen in a walking boot after the game. Henrik battled through finished the game and also played Thursday night against Minnesota to keep his current iron man streak at 553 and counting. Roberto Luongo will get the start for the Canucks tonight. Luongo has been strong against the Flames this season with a 1.34 GAA and .951 save percentage; I guess you could say at least he gets up for at least one of the Canucks big rivalries.

To say the Flames are in tough tonight is an understatement as life doesn’t get much easier with Jones going down with the ankle injury. Mikael Backlund will take his spot on the second line in between Mike Cammalleri and Blake Comeau. Backlund has been a disappointment offensively with only 11 points and has to rebound tonight after taking an awful penalty 200 feet from his net in OT on Thursday which cost the Flames the game. Once again the Flames top line of Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay will draw majority of the Canucks attention and with Jones out the secondary scoring has to step it up more than ever if the Flames have any chance of grabbing the last playoff spot. I think keeping things simple, getting pucks on net and getting under the Canucks skin has to be the Flames focus tonight. Whenever you get guys like glove-throwing Kevin Bieksa and Maxim Lapierre going, the Canucks game seems to go downhill. I have a bad feeling about this one tonight but whenever you’re playing in front of the Dome crowd and you have Miikka Kiprusoff in net, the Flames have a chance to win.  I would love nothing more than a big Flames victory over the Canucks tonight.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Canucks:

1-TANGUAY-JOKINEN-IGINLA                         `           1-D.SEDIN-H.SEDIN-BITZ

2-CAMMALLERI-BACKLUND-COMEAU                       2-BURROWS-KESLER-BOOTH

3-BOUMA-HORAK-KOLANOS                                      3-RAYMOND-MALHOLTRA-HANSEN

4-KOSTOPOULOS-STAJAN-JACKMAN                        4-LAPIERRE-HODGSON-DUCO

 

1-BOUWMEESTER-BUTLER                                       1-HAMHUIS-BIEKSA

2-GIORDANO-HANNAN                                                2-EDLER-SALO

3-BRODIE-SARICH                                                       3-ALBERTS-ROME

 

1-KIPRUSOFF                                                               1-LUONGO     

2-IRVING                                                                        2-SCHNEIDER

 

EXTRA- BABCHUK                                                         EXTRA- BALLARD, SULZER

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Blair Jones (Ankle- IR), RW- Lee Stempniak (Ankle- IR) LW- Curtis Glencross (Knee- IR), C- David Moss (Lower Body-IR), D- Derek Smith (Ankle- IR)

Canucks: LW- Chris Higgins (Illness- IR), LW- Aaron Volpatti (Shoulder- IR), C- Andrew Ebbett (Collarbone- IR), RW- Dale Weise (Foot- Day-to-Day)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

O. Jokinen

55

17

29

46

2

J. Iginla

55

21

23

44

-5

C. Glencross

45

18

15

33

-4

A. Tanguay

39

6

22

28

1

M. Cammalleri

48

11

14

25

-13

 

Canucks

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

H. Sedin

54

12

46

58

17

D. Sedin

54

24

31

55

17

R. Kesler

49

18

20

38

13

A. Edler

54

7

31

38

6

A. Burrows

52

19

16

35

19

 

PP-

Flames: 18.0% (13th)

Canucks: 22.9% (1st)

PK-

Flames: 83.2% (11th)

Canucks: 85.7% (6th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

WINS

LOSSES

OTL

POINTS

1. DETROIT

56

37

17

2

76

2. VANCOUVER

54

34

15

5

73

3. SAN JOSE

52

30

16

6

66

4. ST. LOUIS

53

32

14

7

71

5. NASHVILLE

55

32

18

5

69

6. CHICAGO

55

29

19

7

65

7. L.A

56

26

19

11

63

8. PHOENIX

55

26

21

8

60

 

9. DALLAS

54

28

23

3

59

10. COLORADO

56

28

25

3

59

11.MINNESOTA

54

25

21

8

58

12. CALGARY

55

25

22

8

58

13. ANAHEIM

54

21

24

9

51

14.EDMONTON

54

21

28

5

47

15. COLUMBUS

54

15

33

6

36

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last ten games: Flames, 4-3-3, Canucks, 7-1-2
  • Olli Jokinen continued his red hot streak scoring the Flames lone goal on Thursday. Jokinen now has a 5-game point streak (5 goals, 3 assists)
  • 13 of Jokinen’s 17 goals have come on the road.
  • Six of the Flames final eight games in February are at Scotia Bank Saddledome.
  • The Flames are 14-8-2 on Dome ice this season.
  • The Canucks have recorded points in 8 consecutive games (6-0-2).
  • The Canucks own the league’s best record on the road (19-9-1).
  • Even with the ankle injury, Henrik is currently on a 5-game streak joining Jokinen (1 goal, 5 assists).
  • Ryan Kesler has also been hot for the Canucks as he is currently on a 5-game goal streak.

 

GAME DAY QUOTE:

"I'm excited for sure, it's a big honour to get called up every time and I'm going to try to do my best on the ice."

– Flames forward Roman Horak

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon