The Vancouver Canucks (28-27-10) open a brief two-game homestand when they play host to the Calgary Flames (24-31-7) at Rogers Arena tonight.
The Canucks are 3-0 against their Alberta rivals so far this season beating them once in regulation, once in overtime and once in a shootout. The three victories have come against three different Flames goalies (MacDonald, Berra, Rammo). Their last meeting on January 18th opened with fireworks off the opening face-off.
The Canucks are looking to snap a four-game losing streak after a 6-1 defeat in Dallas on Thursday night. Zac Daple scored the team’s lone goal on a second period power play. Newcomer Shawn Matthias made his Canucks debut after being acquired on Monday. He played 16:43 and registered a team-high seven shots on goal. Goalie Jacob Markstrom also made his first appearance in a Canucks uniform coming off the bench to play the final 20 minutes against the Stars.
Tonight, Nicklas Jensen makes his season debut for the Canucks after being recalled from Utica yesterday. Jensen has 15 goals in the AHL this season. He made his NHL debut on April 1, 2013 appearing in two games late last season.
The Canucks will be without the services of forward Zack Kassian who was suspended for three games by the NHL on Friday. The suspension was the result of a boarding major he picked up for a first period check from behind on Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. Ryan Stanton and Brad Richardson are both out of the line-up and listed as day to day.
Eddie Lack returns to the net after getting the hook after two periods in Dallas.
The Flames are here after a 4-3 come from behind win against the New York Islanders on home ice last night. Joe Colborne’s second of the game with 4:19 to play snapped a 3-3 tie and led Calgary to its second straight victory and third in four games.
With the four goals last night, Calgary leap-frogged the Canucks in offensive production making tonight’s game a match-up of 28th vs 29th in goals per game – the Flames average 2.30 while the Canucks average 2.28.
Flames captain Mark Giordano (1+5=6) and Joe Colborne (3+2=5) both carry four-game point streaks into action tonight.
The Flames are a banged-up bunch: Jiri Hudler (upper body), Matt Stajan (personal), Dennis Wideman (upper body), Kevin Westgarth (concussion), David Jones (shoulder) are all out of their line-up. Last night was the first time since December 10, 1996 the Flames dressed eight rookies for a game. They are expected to do the same tonight.
Joni Ortio is expected to make his 4th NHL start tonight. He’s 2-1 with a 2.02 GAA and a 92.6 save percentage.
Canucks lines as they participated in morning skate: Higgins-Kesler-Jensen; Burrows-Henrik-Hansen; Sestito-Matthias-Booth; Archibald-Schroeder-Dalpe
The Flames did not skate this morning.