FLAMES (0-2-0) VS. CANUCKS (0-0-0)
BROADCAST: 8:00 PM MT; CBC Hockey Night in Canada (TV), Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio)
SEASON SERIES: The Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks squared off for a game in the pre-season at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Oct. 6 with the Canucks skating to a 4-0 win. It was Calgary's final pre-season match and while they iced a lineup that consisted of only a handful of regulars, the Canucks lineup was close to the final grouping that was announced Thursday. Loui Eriksson led the charge for the Canucks with a pair of goals while former Calgary Hitmen star Jake Virtanen and Brandon Sutter rounded out the scoring. Ryan Miller turned aside all 29 shots the he faced while Chad Johnson went wire-to-wire for the Flames, giving up four markers. Saturday's game will be the first game between the two rivals this season. The Flames went 4-1 against the Canucks last season.
FLAMES TEAM SCOPE: The Flames are still in search of their first win for the 2016-17 season, dropping their first two matches against the Edmonton Oilers in a home-and-home set. Calgary suffered a 5-3 loss to Edmonton on Friday, the Flames' home opener. The Flames couldn't capitalize on a dominant first period when they fired 24 shots on Oilers' goaltender Cam Talbot, one shy of a franchise record set in 1988 and equalled in 2005. The Flames struggled with special teams surrendering a pair of powerplay goals and a shorthanded tally. The Flames got to within one strike of the Oilers with just under seven minutes left to play on a point blast from Jyrki Jokipakka but that was as close as they would get. Leon Draisaitl scored into an empty net to seal the win for Edmonton. Brian Elliott recorded his second loss of the season for the Flames and Chad Johnson is expected to get his first start for Calgary in Vancouver on Saturday.
CANUCKS TEAM SCOPE: The Canucks have had a full week off in preparation for the regular season. They participated in their final pre-season match on Oct. 8 with a 3-2 victory over the Oilers. Vancouver should be fired up Saturday as their fans will enjoy opening night at Rogers Arena against a bitter rival in Calgary. The Canucks made a number of moves in the off-season, most notable bringing in free-agent right-winger Loui Eriksson after the departure of Radim Vrbata. The Canucks also strengthened their blueline in a one-for-one swap with the Florida Panthers acquiring 24-year-old physical defenceman Erik Gudbranson. Daniel and Henrik Sedin should once again lead the Canucks offensively while youngsters Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen and Sven Baertschi are another year older and will be counted on much more this season. Vancouver also inked veteran forward Jack Skille to a one-year contract Wednesday. Backstopping the Canucks again this season are the usual suspects, Ryan Miller and Jacub Markstrom.