FGD 41: There's no place like home (and home) (8pm MT, SN West)

Ryan Pike
January 06 2017 12:00PM


USATSI_9620521
(Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

Tonight and tomorrow, in Calgary and Vancouver, we're going to witness a pair of games between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks. When the season began, it didn't seem like these games would be all that important; the Canucks fell off a cliff after a hot start and the Flames quite honestly looked listless and lost. But here were are at the midway point of the season, and this home and home series has incredibly high stakes for both clubs.

Playoff implications will be the talk of these two games. Vancouver can crawl out of the muck and into the playoff pack with a pair of wins. On the other hand, the Flames can functionally punt the Canucks back down the ladder and into said muck with a pair of wins of their own. As previously stated: these are high stakes games between a pair of clubs that nobody expected to be playing high stakes games given how the first few weeks of the season unfolded.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

Check out a view from the other side from Canucks Army!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Alex Chiasson
Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Kris Versteeg Sam Bennett Micheal Ferland
Lance Bouma Matt Stajan Freddie Hamilton

Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie Dennis Wideman
Tyler Wotherspoon Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott gets the start for Calgary. He's won each of his last five starts and beat Vancouver the last time the Flames played them. He's recovering rather well from a rough start, albeit with a string of games against the NHL's lesser lights probably designed to rebuild his confidence. It's largely worked. He's 8-9-1 with a 2.89 goals against average and .894 save percentage. His goals against finally nudged itself under 3.00 after the Colorado win.

Given the Flames won last time out and seemed to have good energy, I wouldn't expect many (or any) lineup changes. So expect Jyrki Jokipakka and Garnet Hathaway to be the healthy scratches. The Flames remain without Ladislav Smid and Troy Brouwer, though Brouwer is reportedly skating on his own again.

The recipe for the Flames success since mid-November has been rather simple: don't give up too much at even strength, try to hustle enough to draw penalties, and then make hay on the power play. There is no team in the NHL as dangerous as the Flames on the power play over the last dozen or so games. Until their special teams fall off a cliff, expect the Flames to stick to this game plan.

THE CANUCKS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Daniel Sedin Henrik Sedin Jayson Megna
Loui Eriksson Brandon Sutter Markus Granlund
Sven Baertschi Bo Horvat Anton Rodin
Brendan Gaunce Michael Chaput Jack Skille

Alexander Edler Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller will likely start for the Canucks. He's been in net for four of Vancouver's past five games, all wins. He's 11-10-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and .912 save percentage. Oddly, his backup Jacob Markstrom has better numbers this season but Miller is seen as the more reliable goaltender.

Vancouver has won five in a row since their loss to the Flames on December 23. They've beaten some soft teams like Colorado and Arizona, but they've also beaten good divisional opponents in Edmonton, Los Angeles and Anaheim. They've been working short several bodies, as they're missing Derek Dorsett, Erik Gudbranson, Philip Larsen, Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows due to injury.

The Canucks are easily the Flames biggest rival in recent years. The games have bite. The teams hate each other. It'll probably be tight-checking and physical. Vancouver's one of the hottest teams in hockey over the past few weeks and the Flames have struggled in the past few weeks when they face hot teams. As rough as Vancouver was to begin the season, and as soundly as the Flames beat them on December 23, these two games aren't going to be a walk in the park.

THE NUMBERS


FLAMES
CANUCKS
Wins
21
19
Points
(Pct.)
44
(.550)
41
(.513)
Power Play
20.7%
13.9%
Penalty Kill
81.6%
80.3%
Score-Adjusted Corsi
49.6%
47.8%
Stanley Cups
1
0

HISTORY LESSON

Believe it or not, the Flames and Canucks have played 266 games against each other in the regular season. The Flames are 130-89-47 all-time, their best record against any NHL franchise. This is the third of five meetings this season; Vancouver beat a rough Flames squad 2-1 in a shootout on October 15, but the Flames outclassed them 4-1 on December 23. After tonight and tomorrow, they play one more time on February 18.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Your recommended follows from the other side for tonight:

SUM IT UP

It'll be a playoff-like atmosphere at Rogers Arena for the first of a home and home between the Flames and the Canucks. And suitably, the results of the next two evenings of hockey could have huge implications for the playoff hopes of both clubs.

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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation, a Senior Writer covering the Flames and the NHL Draft for The Hockey Writers, and a correspondent for the Fischler Report. You can see his hand or the side of his head on TV sometimes.
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#51 FOS
January 06 2017, 10:09PM
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Safe to say Chad will be in tomorrow.....

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#52 FL@med
January 06 2017, 10:09PM
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So... Granlund for Shinkaruk huh?

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#53 MontanaMan
January 06 2017, 10:10PM
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FL@med wrote:

So... Granlund for Shinkaruk huh?

Another 20/20 GM in the crowd. I'm sure you questioned the trade at the time.

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#54 Tomas Oppolzer
January 06 2017, 10:13PM
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FOS wrote:

Safe to say Chad will be in tomorrow.....

Well, yeah. It's a b2b. It's not like Chad's exactly been channeling Hasek lately though.

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#55 FL@med
January 06 2017, 10:13PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Another 20/20 GM in the crowd. I'm sure you questioned the trade at the time.

Ofc I did... Shinkaruk looked like a stud, and granlund was doing terrible here... What makes me mad is that some people STILL can't believe that the Nucks get the better end of the trade (As of now)

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#56 MontanaMan
January 06 2017, 10:19PM
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The Backlund line is playing well but above their heads in offensive production. Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Brodie and Hamiilton need to shoulder the responsibility in a game like this to score a key goal.

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#57 McRib
January 06 2017, 10:23PM
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@Tomas Oppolzer

Ryan Miller is doing to the Canucks what Kipper did to us for years (prevent us from getting a Top. 3 pick, extending mediocrity). Shots are now what 39-12 for the Flames. Wow, Vancouver has no business winning this game.

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#58 flames2015
January 06 2017, 10:25PM
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What was that PP. Never want to see a guy hurt, but with sutter down it was a chance for the flames to be opportunistic. Instead gio loses it and they all watch the canucks player with it in our end ? Brutal.

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#59 MontanaMan
January 06 2017, 10:26PM
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flames2015 wrote:

What was that PP. Never want to see a guy hurt, but with sutter down it was a chance for the flames to be opportunistic. Instead gio loses it and they all watch the canucks player with it in our end ? Brutal.

For the most part, Gio has been awful all year in both ends of the rink.

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#60 everton fc
January 06 2017, 10:29PM
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Is our team a place where goalies careers train-wreck?

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#61 Juan Valdez
January 06 2017, 10:33PM
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I think starting Elliott was the right move, but he really screwed the pooch tonight.

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#62 Ktop
January 06 2017, 10:34PM
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This lose is all goal tending. Their's was way better than ours.

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#63 FOS
January 06 2017, 10:38PM
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Got to hand it to Miller

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#64 Aadvarkian Abakeneezer
January 06 2017, 10:45PM
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What can you say about a game where you outshoot the opponent 46-13? Good chances too in many cases. Whatever, I guess. Stick tap to Miller.

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#65 cgyokgn
January 06 2017, 10:45PM
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Not only did the Flames have 46 shots on goal, the Canucks blocked 26 shots... Miller will probably be the first star.

In the other net, Elliott gave up four goals on 13 shots...

Goaltending was the story of the game.

Let's get them tomorrow - GFG!

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#66 The GREAT WW
January 06 2017, 10:46PM
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Backlund got an assist for getting hit in the back of the leg.....

He is a point getting machine!

WW

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#67 Derzie
January 06 2017, 10:51PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

For the most part, Gio has been awful all year in both ends of the rink.

It's clear you don't watch the games.

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#68 Derzie
January 06 2017, 10:52PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Another 20/20 GM in the crowd. I'm sure you questioned the trade at the time.

A prospect that couldn't make the Canucks. What could go wrong?

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#69 Derzie
January 06 2017, 10:53PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

The Backlund line is playing well but above their heads in offensive production. Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Brodie and Hamiilton need to shoulder the responsibility in a game like this to score a key goal.

Not until they get a coach that values skill over corsi. GG ain't the guy.

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#70 Derzie
January 06 2017, 10:55PM
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Juan Valdez wrote:

I think starting Elliott was the right move, but he really screwed the pooch tonight.

Elliott has had enough time. He's broken.

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#71 Thatz Nuckin Futz
January 06 2017, 10:55PM
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Wow . We took the kid out behind the woodshed & gave him a good beating. And when we were done, the kid hit us on the back of the head with a chunk of wood.

Ouch. That hurt.

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#72 Derzie
January 06 2017, 10:56PM
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Tomas Oppolzer wrote:

Outshooting the Canucks by more than double. Definitely not time to worry.

Corsi will be wonderful but who cares.

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#73 FOS
January 06 2017, 11:24PM
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The GREAT WW wrote:

Backlund got an assist for getting hit in the back of the leg.....

He is a point getting machine!

WW

Get the feeling you're not a backland fan hey.

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#74 Jakethesnail
January 07 2017, 02:33AM
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everton fc wrote:

Is our team a place where goalies careers train-wreck?

Has been yes!

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