The Canucks look to knock off the Calgary Flames for the second time in as many tries tonight when they host their division rival in their home opener at Rogers Arena.
Three nights after posting a convincing 5-1 season-opening win over Calgary, the Canucks will look for a repeat performance tonight when they welcome the Flames for the first of just two visits they will make to Vancouver all season long. Barring any unforeseen changes leading up to game time, it appears the Canucks will dress the exact same line-up as they did on Wednesday meaning rookie forward Jake Virtanen and veteran defenceman Yannick Weber are set to sit out again. Vancouver is looking to start off their season with back-to-back wins for the second year in a row.
The Flames, meanwhile, look like they will make at least one change to their line-up bringing in Mason Raymond in place of Josh Jooris, the latter who scored a 3-on-3 overtime winner at Rogers Arena during the pre-season. Raymond was actually placed on waivers prior to the start of the season but was kept on the roster rather than assigned to Stockton (AHL). Look for Ryan Miller to be between the pipes for the Canucks while the Flames turn to Jonas Hiller. Hiller lost both of his starts against the Canucks in the 2014.15 regular season but did record three playoff wins versus Vancouver.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
Last season, the Flames' reputation for being the comeback kids was well-deserved. Their +31 goal-differential in third periods was the second-best in the league, while their 10 victories when trailing after two periods was the third-best mark in the NHL. With that said, they would not be too wise to draw from that well too often this season. On Wednesday night, you could argue the Flames' best period was in fact the final 20 minutes where they racked up 16 shots while trying to battle back from a two-goal deficit. The problem was the Canucks kept up with them every step of the way and actually out-shot them by two – as part of a 44-shot night – and out-scored them by that same count in the period. There were only five occasions last season where the Flames allowed 40-or-more shots in a single game.
As far as the 30 shots the Flames threw at Ryan Miller, only seven of them came off the stick of a defencemen and none of them from their leading blue-line scorer last season in Dennis Wideman. The strength of the Flames' offence comes from their defencemen leading the attack so they will need to find a way to be much more engaged tonight. While it was a rough night offensively for Calgary's blue-liners, it was a particularly difficult outing for their top pairing of Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton. Tasked with going up against the Sedin line, they ended up on the ice for three goals against by Vancouver's top trio, which also featured Brandon Sutter. The Flames don't have the benefit of last change tonight which could prove even more difficult when it comes to trying to shut down the Sedin line.
Keys to the Game
Repeat. On Wednesday night in Calgary, the Canucks played as close to a perfect game as possible. They utilized their speed, forechecked aggressively, and got plenty of pucks on net. Seems simple enough...so can we ask for the exact same thing tonight?
Expect a different opponent. After turning in a lackadaisical effort in the season-opener, expect the Flames to put forth a much better effort lest they incur the wrath of Coach Hartley. Calgary will want to be aggressive in this game and the Canucks might be able to take advantage of that if they can move the puck quickly like they did on Wednesday.
Hiller seizes the opportunity. Until the Flames sort out their crowded crease, it may be a game of hot potato as far as the starter's gig is concerned. Hiller gets his shot tonight and a strong performance could go a long way for him to nab that job back.
Canucks Gameday Trailer
By the Numbers
All-time win percentage for the Canucks in home openers (23-16-5).
Win needed by Coach Bob Hartley for 100 with the Flames.
Wins in a row for the Canucks in home openers coming into tonight's game.
Wins in a row for the Canucks in home openers against the Flames dating back to 1996.
Time in team history the Canucks have opened their home schedule vs. the Flames (3-2-1).
Career NHL games played in by Mikael Backlund after he suits up tonight.