One game does not win a series. So, as heartbreaking as Wednesday's 2-1 series opening loss was, the Canucks know all it takes is a strong rebound effort tonight and they're right back in this series with momentum as the series shifts to Calgary. The Flames, on the other hand, will be looking to put themselves in the driver's seat as far as this series is concerned by stealing another game on the road. Historically, in the previous six all-time playoff series between these two clubs, the team that has gone up 2-0 has gone on to win the series in the three times it has happened.
Neither team is expected to make any lineup changes for Game 2. Kevin Bieksa did not participate in yesterday's practice session for Vancouver but is expected to be able to go tonight. Eddie Lack and Jonas Hiller are the likely starters for their respective clubs. Vancouver will be looking to avoid going down 0-2 for the third consecutive playoff series and will also be looking to snap a six-game overall playoff losing streak. They have never lost seven straight playoff games at any point in franchise history. They're also looking to avoid becoming the first team in NHL history to lose eight straight home playoff games in a row.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
2015 Playoff Record
Trail 0-1 Lead 1-0
All-time Playoff Record
All-time Playoff head-to-head
2014.15 Regular Season Record
The Flames were the comeback kids during the regular season and they proved in Game 1 that even in the post-season they can still turn the trick. Calgary finished the regular season with 10 victories when trailing after two periods – only Anaheim and Detroit had more – and battled back from a 1-0 deficit on Wednesday with a couple of timely third period markers in the 2-1 win. What turned the tide for the Flames was when they started coming away with turnovers which led to both of their markers. It's a statistic that doesn't get a lot of hype but it's worth noting that during the regular season the Flames led the league with 814 takeaways. They were only credited with four takeaways in Game 1 but it's clear their tenacity when battling for loose pucks, especially in the third period, forced a good number of those turnovers by Vancouver.
The Flames also started getting their groove on when their defence began joining the rush. In the early part of Game 1, the Canucks managed to keep the Flames at bay forcing them to try and throw long passes up the middle and keeping their rushes and shots to the outside. But, as the game wore on and Vancouver started to panic after giving up the equalizer, Calgary was able to capitalize and start enjoying extended zone time. The Canucks have to be aware of the Flames' aggressive forecheck and find a way to win those board battles and get clean breakouts.
Keys to the Game
Watch those D-zone turnovers. The Flames, even with a healthy shot count, didn't really start generating chances in bunches until the third period when the Canucks seemed insistent on handing them the puck time and time again. The Canucks can't be that generous again in their own end tonight.
Punish the D. The Flames' top-four defencemen played huge minutes in Game 1 (Brodie, Wideman, Russell and Engelland all exceeded their regular season average) and there's no reason for to believe that will change as this series progresses. The Canucks need to do more to wear those guys down and that means banging bodies every chance they get.
Hiller comes up big again. The knock on Hiller throughout his career is that he can't get the job done when the playoffs roll around. But he looked pretty good in Game 1 and really kept his team in it especially early on when the Canucks were getting the better quality chances. His team will be counting on a repeat performance tonight.
By the Numbers
Times the Flames have lost a best-of-7 series after winning Game 1 (9-4; 3 straight losses dating back to 2004).
Times the Canucks have won a best-of-7 series after losing Game 1 (4-9; Most recent 2003 vs. STL).
Straight home playoff losses for the Canucks dating back to 2011, tied for longest in franchise history.
All-time series win percentage for teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-seven in NHL history (427-195).
Faceoff win percentage for Henrik Sedin in Game 1, his best outing statistically all season.
Year a rookie last scored a playoff goal for the Canucks before Bo Horvat in Game 1 (Michael Grabner vs. CHI).