Game Preview: Flames vs Vancouver Canucks

CALGARY FLAMES (14-20-4 32 points) vs. VANCOUVER CANUCKS (22-11-6 50 points) GAME 39

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames and Canucks renew their rivalry tonight in the last of five meetings between the clubs. So far the Canucks have had the Flames number winning three of the first four games, including a 5-2 victory at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.

The Flames finally ended their long 13-game road winless streak on Monday in Colorado, defeating the Avalanche 3-1. Roman Cervenka, Mike Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay all tallied for the Flames, while Roman Horak added two assists, including a beauty pass to Cammalleri for the Flames’ second goal.

Horak along with Sven Baertschi and Mac Reinhart have started the Flames slow young movement and Horak and Baertschi should be expected to be full-time NHLer’s next season.

The Canucks are once again at the top of the Northwest Division this season, looking for their fifth consecutive division title.  

It has been a little tougher this season with competition from the Minnesota Wild but coming into tonight’s game against the Flames, the Canucks hold a four-point lead with each team having played 39 games.

Injuries have also been a concern for the Canucks this season. Ryan Kesler returned to the line-up on Monday against the Coyotes after missing the previous 19 games due to a broken right foot. With Kesler back, the injury bug continued to bite the Canucks, with both Chris Higgins and defensemen Chris Tanev now out indefinitely with injuries.

Cory Schneider will look to continue his hot play tonight against the Flames, appearing in his 12th straight start where he has recorded four of his five shutouts this season. Miikka Kiprusoff will get the start for the Flames after getting Monday off in favor or Joey MacDonald.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Canucks:

1- TANGUAY-BACKLUND-STEMPNIAK                      1- D.SEDIN-H.SEDIN-BURROWS

2- BAERTSCHI-HORAK-CAMMALLERI                      2- RAYMOND-KESLER-KASSIAN

3- GLENCROSS-REINHART-BEGIN                           3- WEISE-ROY-HANSEN

4- BEGIN-JONES-CERVENKA                                    4- SESTITO-LAPIERRE-EBBETT

 

1- WIDEMAN-GIORDANO                                           1- HAMHUIS-BIEKSA

2- BRODIE-BUTLER                                                    2- EDLER-GARRISON

3- SARICH-CARSON                                                   3- BALLARD-ALBERTS

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                             1- SCHNEIDER

2- MacDONALD                                                            2- LUONGO

 

EXTRA- BABCHUK                                                      EXTRA- BARKER, PINIZZOTTO

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Matt Stajan (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), LW- Jiri Hudler (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), RW- Brian McGrattan (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- Derek Smith (Upper Body- IR), C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Canucks: LW- Chris Higgins (Lower Body- Out Indefinitely), D- Chris Tanev (Leg- Out Indefinitely), LW- David Booth (Ankle Surgery- IR), C- Manny Malhotra (Eye- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

M. Cammalleri

35

12

15

27

-15

A. Tanguay

38

11

16

27

-13

L. Stempniak

38

7

19

26

2

C. Glencross

35

14

9

23

-9

M. Stajan

38

5

18

23

5

 

Canucks

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

H. Sedin

39

11

25

36

18

D. Sedin

39

10

23

33

12

D. Roy

33

4

19

23

5

A. Burrows

39

11

11

22

17

J. Hansen

38

8

14

22

14

 

PP-

Flames: 19.8% (11th)

Canucks: 13.4% (27th)

PK-

Flames: 79.2% (24th)

Canucks: 82.7% (11th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. X- CHICAGO

39

30

5

4

64

2. ANAHEIM

40

27

8

5

59

3. VANCOUVER

39

22

11

6

50

4. LOS ANGELES

40

22

14

4

48

5. SAN JOSE

39

20

12

7

47

6. ST. LOUIS

38

22

14

2

46

7. MINNESOTA

39

22

15

2

46

8. DETROIT

39

19

15

5

43

 

9. DALLAS

39

19

17

3

41

10. COLUMBUS

40

17

16

7

41

11. PHOENIX

39

17

16

6

40

12. EDMONTON

39

16

16

7

39

13. NASHVILLE

41

15

18

8

38

14. CALGARY

38

14

20

4

32

15. COLORADO

39

12

22

5

29

 

MY TAKE:

My take is really the same as everyone else’s. The more the Flames lose, the happier I am.

Hockey is all about winning, I cannot say that enough being a hockey coach myself, but when you are in a situation like the Flames are, sometimes the future becomes more important than wins do.

I have liked the Flames effort in their last couple games, which has produced one win and one loss that came in the hands of the Canucks on Saturday. The ice-time Baertschi, Reinhart and Horak have received is the most encouraging to me.

The Canucks look once again to be Stanley Cup contenders but still have work to do in their final ten games, jockeying for position in the extremely tight top eight in the West.

Looking at the standings in the West, I have a hard time seeing Dallas, Columbus, Phoenix or Edmonton cracking the top eight, despite being out by no more than four points.

It is tough to express wanting to see a team lose, especially the home town team but things are hopefully starting to change around the Flames organization and losing is what is best for them right now.

Continue to give young guys significant playing time for the rest of the season will only help down the road as the team continues to get younger.

Bring on the draft; this season cannot end fast enough.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon