Sven Baertschi has been officially recalled from Utica (AHL) and will be a game-time decision.
For the second time in this best-of-seven series, the Canucks look to pull back on even terms when they battle the Flames tonight in Game 4 at the Saddledome.
All season long the Canucks have found ways to raise the level of their game whenever they've needed a bounce-back performance. That should bode well for them tonight, then, coming off a disappointing 4-2 loss in Game 3 in which they were clearly the second best team. Needless to say tonight's game is as pivotal as it gets for Vancouver. A win and this series whittles down to a best-of-three with two of the potential final three games to be played at Rogers Arena. A loss and the Canucks will be forced to play up to three straight do-or-die games to keep their season alive.
The list of missing bodies from yesterday's Canucks practice included starting netminder Eddie Lack along with forwards Burrows, Higgins, Matthias, Hansen, Horvat, and Richardson although all should be able to go for Game 4. Horvat may be the one to keep an eye on, though, as he appeared to have some lower body discomfort during Game 3 that forced him to miss parts of the contest. No changes are expected for the Flames. Calgary recalled goalie Joni Ortio yesterday but that was likely just a result of Adirondack failing to make the AHL playoffs.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
2015 Playoff Record
Trail 1-2 Lead 2-1
All-time Playoff Record
All-time Playoff head-to-head
2014.15 Regular Season Record
The Flames may have the reputation as being the comeback kids but it's the Canucks who will have to play that role if they want to even up this series that Calgary currently leads 2-1. The Flames actually deviated from their game plan by scoring first and building a sizable lead in Game 3 on their way to a 4-2 victory. We say that in jest, of course, but what isn't a joking matter is the Flames are actually a tougher team to play against when they have the lead. On Sunday, buoyed by the fact they had the advantage for most of the contest, Calgary managed to maintain their aggressive style by forechecking hard, winning battles for loose pucks and forcing the Canucks to turn the puck over when they tried to break out.
Leading the charge in Game 3, literally, for the Flames was Michael Ferland, who had nine of the Flames' 33 total hits on the night. 'Hits' can often be a subjective statistic but it's worth pointing out that so far in the three games in the series the team that has won the physical battle in terms of more hits has gone on to win all three times. There's also a correlation between the hit differential and how close the game is. In Game 1, which was the closest of the three games so far with Calgary winning 2-1, the Flames out-hit the Canucks by a margin of only three (25 to 22). In Game 2, a game thoroughly dominated by the Canucks in a 4-1 victory, the hits finished 30-19 in Vancouver's favour. In Game 3, a game controlled from start to finish by Calgary, the hits finished 33-18 in Calgary's favour. The hitting game will be a factor again tonight and the Flames have the advantage of being spurred on by their raucous C of Red.
Keys to the Game
Have a better compete level. The Canucks knew they would have to weather a storm in Game 3. The problem is the storm never let up and Vancouver had little in the way of a positive response. They need to be the hungrier team tonight and play with the same desperation the Flames showed on Sunday.
Stop gifting the puck. The Canucks were charged with 16 giveaways in Game 3 although it felt like a whole lot more. The Flames are a tough enough team to compete against without them having the puck all the time. Vancouver has to limit their turnovers or it could be another long night of chasing.
Keep crashing away. The Flames have made it a point to make life as difficult as possible for Eddie Lack and it's definitely working as they've been able to generate some glorious scoring chances as a result. No changes are needed to that part of the game plan.
By the Numbers
All-time series win percentage for the Canucks when trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series (4-8; 1-1 vs. CGY).
All-time series win percentage for the Flames when leading 2-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series (8-5; three straight losses).
Straight games with a point for Bo Horvat dating back to the regular season, tied for his longest streak of the season.
Days late was Sam Bennett (18 years, 303 days) in Game 3 from equaling Jarome Iginla (18 years, 297 days) as youngest Flame to score a playoff goal.
All-time series win percentage for teams that hold a 2-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series (307-136).
Career playoff game tonight for Daniel Sedin. He becomes the 17th Swede to appear in 100 NHL playoff games.