There won't be as much at stake tonight compared to the Canucks' last visit to Calgary back on April 25 but the bad blood between the teams should still be flowing even if it is just a pre-season affair. What continues to be at stake, especially for the younger players, are jobs which means tonight's game will be another opportunity for them to showcase their NHL readiness not only in terms of skill but also toughness. Given last spring's spirited playoff series between the clubs, it would not be a surprise if this game had more of a physical tone compared to a typical pre-season contest.
The Canucks, who have been off since falling 4-0 on Tuesday to the Sharks at home, will face a Flames team that played last night in Colorado although very few, if any, of the Flames who played yesterday will likely be in the lineup tonight. As was the case on Tuesday, tonight's game is a designated overtime preview contest so there will be a sudden-death, five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period regardless of the score at the conclusion of regulation.
Puck drop at 6 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet ONE, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
2014.15 Season Series
2014.15 Regular Season Record
2nd Pacific 3rd Pacific
All-Time Series (Regular Season)
The off-season moves made by the Flames might not have been quite as splashy compared to ones made by their Albertan rivals to the north in Edmonton, but there's no denying Bob Hartley's crew looks a lot more formidable now even compared to back in April. Their biggest move was the acquisition of offensive defenceman Dougie Hamilton from the Bruins. Hamilton joins a defensive core in Calgary that was already one of the most feared in the league when it came to their offensive prowess. Last season, Calgary's top four of Wideman, Giordano, Brodie and Russell combined for a whopping 41 goals and 179 points. Those numbers would have been even higher had Giordano not suffered a season-ending injury at the time he was leading all NHL blue-liners in points. Of course, the Flames will be counting on Hamilton to have an immediate impact especially due to the fact that Brodie will be out to start the season with a fractured finger.
Up front, the Flames return a roster that will look quite similar to the one they had last season with a couple of notable additions. First off, Sam Bennett, whom the Canucks got to know quite well during their short-lived playoff run last season, will be a full-season option for the Flames. Calgary also brought in Michael Frolik, ex of the Winnipeg Jets, into the fold. The latter is a two-way forward who is coming off back-to-back 42-point seasons and could be a solid second-line option perhaps lining up alongside Bennett.
Keys to the Game
Get those rebounds. The Canucks may have thrown 30 pucks on net in Tuesday's loss to the Sharks but very few of them were came as second opportunity chances off the netminder's pads. Those greasy goals count just as much as the highlight-reel ones and the Canucks could use goals any way they can get them.
Keep drawing penalties. While the Canucks would have liked to capitalize on one of their six power plays on Tuesday, it was a good sign they were able to make their opponent take trip after trip to the sin bin. Vancouver had among the fewest power play opportunities last season so that's something they'll want to find a way to change this year.
Clear the crowded crease. The Flames have three netminders, all in their last year of their contract, who have proven at one point or another to be viable NHL options. Coach Hartley has made it clear that pre-season performance will be determining factor on who among Hiller, Ramo, or Ortio will be cut. How's that for motivation?
Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota
By the Numbers
Vancouver's all-time pre-season win percentage (160-154-33).
Games in 3 nights for the Flames. They played yesterday in Colorado and Vancouver tonight and tomorrow.
Seasons spent by Jake Virtanen as a Calgary Hitmen, a time he called the Saddledome home.
Overtime wins for the Flames last season, tied with Boston for most in the NHL.
Players remaining on the Canucks training camp roster (11 D, 26 F, 4 G).
Players remaining on the Flames training camp roster (20 D, 31 F, 7 G).