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Game 81: Canucks at Flames (4.7.16)

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
UPDATE:

The Canucks play their final road game of the season tonight when they head into the Saddledome looking for a bounce back win against the Calgary Flames.

The Canucks went into last night's game in Edmonton saying all the right things about wanting to spoil the Oilers' special night. They also went into that game with some swagger riding their longest win streak of the season after coming off three consecutive victories over the three playoff-bound Pacific Division teams. Sadly, that was the extent of all the positives as the Canucks put up very little resistance in a 6-2 loss. They'll get one last crack at revenge against the Oilers when they host them in Saturday's home and season finale at Rogers Arena, but the same can't be said of the Flames if the Canucks don't manage a win tonight.

Calgary has already secured the season series win but the Canucks can still get the last laugh and send Flames fans home disappointed for the final time this season. A win for the Flames would mean that they will finish ahead of the Canucks in the regular season standings for the first time since the 2007.08 season. Look for Ryan Miller to return to the crease for the Canucks tonight, while the Flames will counter with Joni Ortio.

Puck drop at 6 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.

Regular Season Record

30-37-13 33-40-7

2015.16 Season Series

1-2-1 3-1-0

All-Time Series

102-122-39 128-89-46

Last 10 games

3-6-1 3-5-2

Last 10 head-to-head

5-4-1 5-4-1
 

Keys to the Game

Show up. You can make a case the home team was extra fired up yesterday with it being a big ceremonial night but that's still no excuse for what was largely a poor and sloppy effort by the visitors. If the Canucks don't want to be blown out of the building again tonight, they had better be ready to face another team wanting to put on a good show in their last game in front of their fans.

Miller stands tall. While the Canucks have enjoyed limited success in the season series, one player who has done his part is Ryan Miller who brings a 1-1-1 record with a 1.99 GAA and a .938 save percentage into tonight's season series finale. In what could be his last start of the season, this fiery competitor will certainly want to go out on top.

Hunter has his moment. Former Canucks first round draft pick Hunter Shinkaruk, who made his NHL debut earlier this season as a Canuck before being traded to Calgary, certainly has a case that his old team gave up on him too soon. He'll have extra motivation to continue his point-producing ways in his first head-to-head game versus Vancouver.


Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota

By the Numbers

.432

All-time win percentage for the Canucks in their regular season road finale (19-19-6).

.524

All-time win percentage for the Flames in their regular season home finale (22-12-8; 19-10-5 since moving to Calgary).

4

Straight seasons the Canucks have lost their regular season road finale (last win in Calgary in 2011).

5

Games played by ex-Canuck Hunter Shinkaruk as a Flame. He has two goals and three points.

5

Points for Flames D TJ Brodie against the Canucks, leading all players in the season series. (D. Sedin leads VAN with 4).

8th

Time the Canucks will play their regular season road finale in Calgary (3-4-0).


Scouting Report

  • A year ago the Flames were one of the league's Cinderella stories making an unexpected charge into the playoffs and winning a series before bowing out. They've fallen back down to earth this year, however, and will finish outside the post-season picture for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
  • A big reason for the Flames' success last season was the play of Jonas Hiller, who put up some of the best numbers of his career. This season, Hiller's statistics are atrocious (3.51 GAA, .879 save percentage) and he's been relegated to back-up duty for the most part first behind the currently-injured Karri Ramo and now behind potential goalie of the future Joni Ortio. (The Flames also have ex-Wild Niklas Backstrom on their roster).
  • Hiller's last start came on March 30 in Anaheim and he lasted less than seven minutes (giving up three goals on five shots) before being hooked. Barring a last minute change of heart, that was his final appearance as a Flame. Despite the fact Hiller has a perfect 3-0-0 record against the Canucks this season (1.64 GAA and a .946 save percentage) it will be Joni Ortio making his season series debut for Calgary. Backstrom is expected to start in Calgary's regular season finale on Saturday meaning it's likely the Hiller era has come to an end in Cowtown.
  • As a team, the Flames have the worst GAA in the league at 3.16. Their offence, though not quite as good as it was last year when it averaged 2.89 goals per game, is averaging a respectable 2.75 goals per game putting them in the top half of the league. That's thanks in large part to the continued strides made by youngsters Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, both of whom have set new career-highs in points this season.
  • Last season the Flames were known for their ability to engineer miraculous comebacks in third periods. Not so the case this season. The Flames are 3-30-2 this season when trailing after two periods (they were among the league's best last season with a record of 10-20-4), and have a minus-27 third period goal differential this season (64 goals for, 91 goals against). Last season, they had a plus-31 third period goal differential (99 goals for, 68 goals against).
  • This will be the first time the Canucks have met the Flames since they cleaned house at the trade deadline shipping out Jiri Hudler, their leading point scorer from last season, as well as Kris Russell, one of their top blue-liners, and depth forward David Jones. Those departures has provided opportunities for the Flames to look at some players who may be part of their future including the likes of former Canuck Hunter Shinkaruk, Abbotsford-native Derek Grant, former Vancouver Giant Brett Kulak, Garnet Hathaway, Freddie Hamilton, Kenny Agostino, as well as Jyrki Jokipakka, the Finnish blue-liner who was acquired from Dallas in the Russell deal.
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