Photo credit: canucks.com
Lately, the Calgary Flames seem to cure all things that ail the Vancouver Canucks. In the last 3 seasons, the Canucks have a 13-3-2 record against the Flames and have outscored them by a combined scored of 60-35 in those 18 outings. For all their offensive struggles in recent times (last night’s 6-goal explosion against the Oilers aside), they’ve somehow managed to average 3.33 goals per game against these Alberta rivals.
These days, both teams are going through somewhat of a transition period.
The Canucks, of course, are still learning a new system under new head coach, John Tortorella, and are doing so with much of the same roster. However, tonight, they’ll be even thinner up front with Alex Burrows and Jordan Schroeder out for a couple more weeks, Zack Kassian still serving his 8-game suspension for “accidentally” breaking Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick.
On the other hand, the Flames are completely rebuilding their organization – finally – after missing the playoffs the last 4 seasons. Just before the start of this season, they hired ex-Canuck GM, Brian Burke, as their President of Hockey Operations. Even before that, they jettisoned long-time face of the Flames, Jarome Iginla, and franchise defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester. Long-time goaltender, Mikka Kiprusoff, also retired.
Both the Canucks and the Flames have won a game and lost a game to start the 2013/2014 season.
Last Year’s Meetings
The Canucks won 5 of 6 meetings last season, outscoring the Flames by an 18-10 margin. Burrows and Schroeder scored 5 of those goals, but neither will suit up tonight. Mason Raymond, Derek Roy and Max Lapierre chipped in with 4 goals, but all have moved on and replaced with Brad Richardson, Zac Dalpe and Mike Santorelli in the lineup.
Alex Tanguay and Mike Cammalleri paced the Flames with a couple of goals each, but Tanguay has since been traded back to the Colorado Avalanche and Cammalleri remains out of the lineup (perhaps for good).
Who to watch
Two defensemen: With 3 points each in their first 2 games, Jason Garrison from the Canucks and Mark Giordano from the Flames are off to hot starts. Garrison has 2 goals – one on the powerplay and one shorthanded (a slap shot, trick shot off the glass and into an empty net) – and an assist; Giordano has 3 assists.
The Canucks will get a first glimpse at prized Flames rookie, Sean Monahan, the 6th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Monahan, who the Flames picked 3 spots before the Canucks picked Bo Horvat, has 2 points in 2 games, including scoring the team’s first goal of the 2013/2014 season.
Both Sedins have feasted on the Flames. Against the Flames in their careers, Daniel has 73 points (25 goals and 48 assists) in 71 games, and Henrik has 66 points (12 goals and 54 assists) in 73 games.
With the Canucks playing back-to-back games, Eddie Lack will get his first career NHL start.
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
David Booth – Ryan Kesler – Chris Higgins
Brad Richardson – Mike Santorelli – Dale Weise
Tom Sestito – Zac Dalpe – Yannick Weber
Dan Hamhuis – Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler – Jason Garrison
Ryan Stanton – Chris Tanev
Curtis Glencross – Matt Stajan – Lee Stempniak
Jiri Hudler – Mikael Backlund – TJ Galiardi
Sven Baertschi – Sean Monahan – David Jones
Lance Bouma – Ben Street – Brian McGrattan
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
Chris Butler – Shane O’Brien