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Game 52: Canucks vs Flames (2.6.16)

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks look to end their three-game home stand on a high note tonight when they host the Calgary Flames on Hockey Day in Canada.

There is never a good time to go on a winless skid but the silver lining for Vancouver on their current three-game swoon is that none of the losses have come against divisional opponents. They don't have that safety net to tonight, however, when they resume their rivalry against a Flames team that will be a team they need to fend off in their pursuit of a playoff spot. Calgary begins play today sitting five points behind Vancouver in the Pacific Division standings but with a game in hand.

For the first time all season, the Canucks will be completely healthy with defenceman Dan Hamhuis set to return after a 21-game absence. The Canucks and Flames split their first two meetings of the season, with Calgary earning a 3-2 overtime win in the most recent head-to-head match way back on October 10 spoiling Vancouver's home opener.

Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.

Regular Season Record

20-19-12 22-25-3

2015.16 Season Series

1-0-1 1-1-0

All-Time Series

102-120-39 126-89-46

Last 10 games

4-3-3 3-6-1

Last 10 head-to-head

7-2-1 3-5-2
 

Keys to the Game

Believe in the approach. While an untimely 3rd period marker cost the Canucks again on Thursday, the truth is they were actually the better team in that final frame save for the goal surrendered. If they can play that same way for 60 minutes tonight, they'll be in good position to snap the losing skid.

Jake turns up the heat. Virtanen's hard-hitting style is perfectly suited for a game against a hated rival and the 19-year-old ought to be chomping at the bit after scratched on Thursday. With this being his first chance to meet the Flames in a regular season contest, expect an impactful night from young Jake.

Johnny be good. He's only in his second NHL season but it's quite evident Johnny Gaudreau is among the league's elite already. He's been Mr. Consistency all season long for the Flames and leads all players in the season series with four points (1-3-4).


Canucks Game Preview

By the Numbers

-4

Goal-differential for the Canucks against their opponents in the last three 3rd periods (2 goals for; 6 against).

.286

Win percentage for the Flames this season playing on zero days rest (2-5-0; 3 straight losses).

.563

All-time win percentage for the Canucks on Hockey Day in Canada (9-4-3).

3rd

Game of Calgary's Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension for physical abuse of official.

6th

Straight year the Canucks will face the Flames on Hockey Day in Canada.

8th

Time overall the Canucks will face the Flames on Hockey Day in Canada (4-1-2).


Scouting Report

  • Calgary's top line of Gaudreau, Monahan, and Hudler has combined for three goals and 10 points in their last two games, including generating the only goal in their 2-1 loss to Columbus last night.
  • After looking like his time as a Flame was up in mid-October, Karri Ramo has vaulted up the depth chart to become the number one guy again in Calgary. He has started in 18 of Calgary's last 21 games, including last night against Columbus, going 8-10-0 with a shutout while allowing two-or-fewer goals in 12 of those outings.
  • Back-end scoring has once again been a strong point for the Flames. Twenty-eight of Calgary's 130 goals this season have come from a defenceman with Mark Giordano leading the way with 12. The Canucks, as a team, have 12 goals from defencemen.
  • If Bob Hartley's team has a reputation for being undisciplined, it's unwarranted. The Flames are one of the least penalized teams in the league averaging just 7.3 penalty minutes per game. That's good news for them considering their penalty kill is among the league's worse at 76.7 percent.
  • Speaking of special teams, the Flames aren't exactly boasting to anyone about their power play either which sits dead last in the league at 14.5 percent.
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