There seems to be a misconception that the Canucks/Flames rivalry just isn’t what it used to be.
When you consider that the Canucks are widely-considered to be a Stanley Cup contender and the Flames aren’t expected to battle the Edmonton Oilers for the Western Conference basement, there may be some truth to that.
And then you see the Canucks sitting in 3rd in the Western Conference standings and the Flames sitting in 14th, and you can’t help but think that the Flames are one team should have no problem beating tonight.
But look closer.
As of this morning, only 5 points separate the two teams. And in fact, their battles over the last two seasons have been anything but lopsided. In the 12 games they’ve played each other since the classy goodbye to Trevor Linden at the end of the 2007/2008 season, the Canucks have won 7 and lost 5. They’ve scored 45 goals (3.75 goals per game) and allowed 27 (2.67 goals per game).
The Blackhawks may be the Canucks’ biggest rival at this point, but the Canucks/Flames one is still as close as ever.
Some pre-game thoughts as the Canucks and the Flames meet each other for the first time this season:
- In their head-to-head meetings against the Flames in the last two seasons, the Canucks’ best players have been their best players. Of their 45 goals, the Sedins accounted for 12 of them and Kesler, Raymond, Samuelsson and Burrows accounted for 15 more. That’s 60% of the Canucks’ goals from their top-six forwards. Add the 9 goals scored by other Canucks in which the top-six either assisted or were on the ice and that number increases to 80%. Can the top two lines continue to pad their stats over the Flames?
- Todd Bertuzzi, Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell are all gone now. Which Canuck is next in line to piss Jarome Iginla off?
- The Canucks are 3-3 at the Saddledome in the last two seasons. They scored 20 goals while the Flames scored 21.
- Brendan Morrison is centering the Flames’ first line with Iginla and Alex Tanguay on his wings. Just sayin’.