It may only be the opening week of the pre-season but if ever there was a game that could provide a few fireworks tonight's game would be the one. One doesn't need much reminding of the bad blood that existed between the Canucks and Flames last season and some of ugly the incidents that marred the five-game season series that was swept by Vancouver. There was now-former Canuck Andrew Alberts being flattened by Calgary's Brian McGrattan on a hit-from-behind in late December, the infamous storming of the Flames locker room by ex-head coach John Tortorella in mid-January, and Daniel Sedin having to be stretchered off the ice following yet another questionable hit by Calgary's Paul Byron in the regular season finale.
With all that said the primary emphasis for most of the players on both clubs tonight will be to either keep pushing for a roster spot or to fine tune their game for the start of the regular season, not to settle old scores. The Canucks started off pre-season on Tuesday by splitting their split-squad games against the Sharks winning 4-2 at Rogers Arena and dropping a 5-2 decision in Stockton. The Flames, who are in the midst of playing three games in three nights, are coming off a 4-3 overtime win last night against the Coyotes in the Kraft Hockeyville contest in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. These two teams will have an immediate rematch tomorrow night at Rogers Arena before facing each other four times during the regular season including on opening night at the Saddledome on October 8.
Puck drop at 6 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsnradiovancouver.ca.
2013.14 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Get more pucks on net. On Tuesday, the Canucks managed to score six goals on 31 shots - great numbers if we're talking about a single game, but not when we're counting both split-squad contests. Vancouver, who was out-shot by a combined 71-31 in the two games, will want to control the puck more and give Calgary's netminder a tougher test than they did Sharks' netminders.
The kids keep it up. The more encouraging part of both split-squad games against the Sharks on Tuesday was watching Vancouver's youngsters contribute offensively. The likes of Horvat, Shinkaruk and Jensen will be trying to make Coach Desjardins' job of cutting down the roster extremely difficult. Here's hoping they can give Willie a few more sleepless nights.
Sam shines. There is no Flames player that is chomping at the bit more to get into a game than Sam Bennett, the fourth overall pick from this past June's NHL Entry Draft. The highly-rated prospect suffered a groin injury during the Young Stars tournament in Penticton but could make his pre-season debut tonight.
By the Numbers
Vancouver's all-time win percentage in pre-season. The Canucks' all-time pre-season record is 155-152-33.
Save percentage for Eddie Lack against the Flames last season. Lack went 3-0-0 with a 1.64 GAA and one shutout.
Players remaining on the Canucks' pre-season roster.
UFAs signed by Calgary this summer: Mason Raymond (TOR), Jonas Hiller (ANA), Deryk Engelland (PIT), Sena Acolatse (SJS) and Devin Setoguchi (WPG).
Goals scored by the Canucks in five games versus the Flames last season, double the eight goals managed by Calgary.