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5 THINGS - FLAMES @ CANUCKS

The Flames look to get back in the win column with tilt against divisional rival

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (27-22-6: 60 pts) @ Canucks (30-20-5: 65 pts)

8 p.m. MT | TV: HNIC | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

2019-20 Season Series: 1-1-0-0

 

 

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Matthew Tkachuk (43)
Goals - Elias Lindholm (22)

Canucks:

Points - Elias Pettersson (55)
Goals - Pettersson (23)

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 19.8% (14th) / PK - 81.2% (12th)

Canucks:

PP - 23.2% (8th) / PK - 80.9% (13th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:

Shot Attempts: 50.41% (13th)
High-Danger 49.71 (17th)

Canucks:

Shot Attempts: 48.5% (21st)
High-Danger 49.4% (24th)

 

Video: Brendan Parker sets up tonight's game


1. US

The Flames went 0-3 on their recent homestand.

They fell 8-3 to the Oilers On Feb. 1, before a 3-1 loss to the Sharks on Feb. 4 and, most recently, a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Feb. 6.

The players aren't happy. 

Neither is their coach. 

However, dwelling on the past won't get them anywhere, said Geoff Ward.

The team needs to learn from its mistakes and move forward.

According to him, they need more effort, compete and desperation.

"I've been around this game enough years to understand exactly where you need to be - right now - here today," said the interim bench boss on Friday after practice, before the team boarded a plane to Vancouver. "I always live by the acronym WIN - What's Important Now. 

"Last night, I said what I said, I stand by it, and today, it's a new day, and what's important for us as a group today is to move forward and have something positive happen."

At the end of the day, talk is talk. What they need is results. Starting tonight.

"We can't feel every time that we lose a hockey game that the bottom of the earth is falling out, or that every time we win a hockey game that we're ready to raise the Stanley Cup," Ward explained. 

"For us, it's one game, one day at a time in a process. And right now, we're on this journey together - and I'll tell you, it's an awful lot easier to go on that journey together when you're having fun together, when you're excited about it. But when you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders and everything seems to be heavy, it makes things way, way difficult, and makes the hill harder to climb than it needs to be. 

"That's the message we're talking about every day."

"This is the most exciting time of the year. … We've got to make sure that we welcome the opportunity to become battle-tested."

The players are clearly on board.

"Today was a good start," Sean Monahan said of getting back to that pace in practice. "I thought there was good energy here. We've got to go into Van and put our best game on the table. Three losses in a row - it's not acceptable and like I said, we've got to find ways to win. We've got to treat this as a must-win. Obviously, this is a crucial part of the season and we've got to treat this as a must-win and put our best game on the table."

 

Video: "We have to find ways to get emotionally attached"

 

2. THEM

The Canucks return home after five games on the road.

They opened with a 5-2 win over the Sharks back on Jan. 29, before winning 4-3 in overtime against the Islanders on Feb. 1, and losing the next day 4-3 in a shootout to the Hurricanes. They finished off with 4-0 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 4 and, most recently, were beaten 4-2 by the Wild on Feb. 6.

In that one, Minny powered out to 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. J.T. Miller tallied his 21st of the year in the second period for Vancouver, but Zach Parise restored the three-goal lead in the third.

Antoine Russell rounded out the scoring with a late powerplay marker.

"Believe it or not, I didn't mind parts of our game," Canucks coach Travis Green said after. "You don't usually say that when you're down 3-0 after the first period, but it felt like we had some good looks, we missed some good chances; I felt like we were unlucky to be down 3-0 after one." 

Jacob Markstrom, who's having a stellar season between the pipes for the Canucks, took the loss.

"Being down 3-0 after the first is not the start we wanted," he said. "And for me, personally, to kind of hand them the second goal, it's tough to come back. It's hard enough to win in this league, and when you give a bad turnover there by me and 2-0 and then 3-0 before the period ends, it's tough. I thought we battled really hard and we were pushing from the second period, and the third period, I thought we were playing really good." 

The Canucks were without the services of Pettersson in the tilt, who sat out with a lower-body injury.

"He's our No. 1 centerman, leading scorer, changes (the team), but it's not an excuse why we lost," Green said after.

Pettersson is listed as day-to-day and may not play against the Flames.

Fromer Flame Oscar Fantenberg was injured against the Wild and the defenceman isn't expected to play tonight. 

The Canucks called up Guillaume Brisebois from the Utica Comets Friday.

The Vancouver Province reports that Jordie Benn is expected to play in Fantenberg's spot, with Brisebois as the seventh defenceman. Benn hasn't played since early December.

 

Video: Horvat, Pettersson and Green on facing the Flames

 

3. US VS. THEM

This is third of four meetings between the two teams this season.

The next two will be at Rogers Arena.

The Flames won 3-0 on Oct. 5 and fell 5-2 on Dec. 29 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Johnny Gaudreau leads the season-series against the Canucks for the Flames with three points (2G, 1A) in the two games. David Rittich has played both contests going 1-1-0 with a 2.54 GAA. 

 

Here's the highlights from both tilts:

Video: CGY Recap: Andersson, Hanifin score in 5-2 defeat

 

Video: Gaudreau, Rittich lead Flames past Canucks

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: Tkachuk is tied with Colin Patterson and Rene Bourque at 88 career goals with the Flames. Tkachuk's next goal will catch Mike Cammalleri for the 28th most goals scored in Calgary Flames franchise history … THAT: The Flames also have the best road record in the NHL since Nov. 23 at 10-3-1. Lindholm leads the Flames on the road with 23 points in 28 games. He also leads the Flames in road goals with 12 … THE OTHER: The Flames have a record of 15-15-4 against Western Conference opponents, and are 8-8-1 against the Pacific Division.

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Rasmus Andersson

With captain and reigning Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano sidelined with an injury, Andersson is one of the players who is expected to step up in his absence. He was excellent against the Predators, scoring a goal and recording three shots. He had the most icetime of any Flame at 24:39, narrowmly edging fellow blueliner TJ Brodie (24:16)

Canucks - J.T. Miller

The centre has two goals and four points in his last four outings.The Canucks acquired Miller in an off-season trade with the Lightning. He's got the job done since arriving on the West Coast. So far this season, he has 21 goals and 54 points in 55 games.

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