FGD 3: A trip to the coast (8pm MT, CBC)

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(Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports)

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

The Calgary Flames have not had a great start to the 2016-17 season. They’ve lost twice, by a combined 12-7 score, to the Edmonton Oilers. Either their play has fundamental issues or Edmonton has their number. Regardless, they play their third divisional game in four nights (in three cities) tonight against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena (not to be confused with Rogers Place, which is said to be much nicer). It’s Vancouver’s home opener, too, so expect pomp and circumstance.

You can catch all the festivities on the mothership, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, beginning at 8 p.m. MT (with Dave Randorf and Louie DeBrusk). If you’re more inclined to listen to the game the old fashioned way, via the radio, Sportsnet 960 The Fan has it with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias.

THE FLAMES

The local hockey club won’t skate prior to tonight’s game, so here are last night’s lines via Daily Faceoff:

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanKris Versteeg

Matthew TkachukSam BennettTroy Brouwer

Micheal FerlandMikael BacklundMichael Frolik
Lance BoumaMatt StajanAlex Chiasson

Mark Giordano

T.J. Brodie
Jyrki JokipakkaDougie Hamilton

Dennis WidemanDeryk Engelland

Most likely backup goalie Chad Johnson, a spectator for the first couple games, slots in against Vancouver due to the back-to-back situation. Beyond that, who knows? Glen Gulutzan did shuffle his lines a bit in the third period, with Kris Versteeg ending up with Stajan and Ferland, Brouwer with Monahan and Gaudreau, Chiasson with Backlund and Frolik, and Tkachuk sort of playing a bit with everybody. Granted, it was the third period and Gulutzan seemed to be doing anything he could to create offense so maybe don’t put too much stock into it.

The big challenge for the Flames? Maintaining their special teams. Their penalty kill has been doing good things, attacking the puck carrier and actually generating some chances of their own (rather than just hanging out in a box formation and hoping the other team gets tired of passing and shooting, as Bob Hartley’s teams did). The power play? They moved the puck really well early in Friday’s game, but they went 0-for-5 because they stopped doing those things in subsequent periods and couldn’t gain the zone with any confidence.

Update:

THE CANUCKS

It’s the first game of the season for the Canucks, who are technically the final team in the NHL to begin their schedule. Lines for tonight care of Daily Faceoff:

Daniel SedinHenrik SedinLoui Eriksson
Brendan GaunceBrandon SutterJannik Hansen
Sven BaertschiMarkus GranlundJake Virtanen 

Alexandre BurrowsBo HorvatDerek Dorsett

Alexander EdlerChris Tanev
Ben HuttonErik Gudbranson

Luca SbisaPhilip Larsen

Ryan Miller starts between the pipes.

Vancouver’s not a wildly deep team, but that top line – particularly when they’re on the power play – seems scary. Sedin, Sedin and Ericsson could be deadly. They’re not amazingly deep aside from that top line, but most of their players are fast and they could be a challenge for the Flames bottom pairing defenders, who generally lack speed (other than Brett Kulak).

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES CANUCKS
Wins 0 0
Points 0 0
Power Play 12.5% 0%
Penalty Kill 70.0% 0%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 56.0% 0%

HISTORY LESSON

All-time against the Canucks, the Flames are 111-76-39 since they’ve moved to Calgary. Last season they lost their home opener to Vancouver, then beat the Canucks in their next four meetings. Mikael Backlund led the Flames in scoring against Vancouver last year, and generally seems to love playing against the Canucks.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Your recommended follows from the other side for tonight:

Be nice!

SUM IT UP

The Flames are still winless, and they have a third chance to get their first W against a divisional rival. It’s probably not time to panic yet, but they really need to play a fuller game (or at least show some semblance of progress). They could be in tough against a rested, motivated Canucks team tonight.

  • Crakupov

    Oh well another loss but a hard earned point. On the plus side it looks like the offense is firing on all cylinders.

    It looks to me like they just have to pick up another Edmonton utility player for the top line to join Versteeg. Does anyone know if Andrew Cogliano can be picked up?

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    The good , we weren’t blown out for a change.And we had a D core show up and looked much improved from game’s one & two. GG , please lets use this defense for the remaining 79 games please!.

    The Bad, we lost again.

    We didn’t look great but we didn’t look total road kill either. Alot of work to do.

  • flames2015

    This one is a tough loss, but Johnson and the majority of the boys were good. Would have liked to see maybe Brouwer and Frolik on the S/O over Monahan and Versteeg.

  • Skeittari78

    Pros:
    Johnson was very solid.
    Shot blocking.
    D in general.
    PK.

    Cons:
    Pathetic decisions on several odd man rushes during the first 40.
    Quality / timing / direction of passes (again)
    Only a couple of grade A chances.
    Slow pace (a bit tired group?)

  • shaner

    tonight we were fortunate to get to Ot, we got gifted a goal and that was huge, just need to be grateful for the point, leave with your chins up and try and win the next one, but good road game

  • KenBone18

    If Loui Erikkson didn’t gift the Flames a goal while they were practicing their swarm defence they wouldn’t have gotten their point – they got lucky.

    If Johnny Hockey attended training camp perhaps he’d have more than 1 point in the last 3 games. Oh but wait he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    On the bright side, there is increasing probability the flames will win the 2017 draft lottery.

  • rakilla

    Why is our team speed so slow? Don’t we have a better roster than 2014/2015? We are literally losing every race to the puck. Monahan looks awful. Just awful.

    Here’s another thought. What if our players aren’t as good as we think they are?…Jets. Oilers. Coyotes. All teams with great young players. We aren’t as good as we think we are.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Very possibly when the regular season ends, these two teams will end up 29th and 30th. For more than 50 minutes, this game reminded me of the Best of Bum Fights.

    I thought Russell was no longer a Flame. How else to explain 20 blocked shots by the Reds? If you’re blocking shots, you don’t have the puck, and that’s bad, so the stat heads tell us.

    The Road Warrior goes pointless again. Tre should have given him an incentive-laden contract that paid him more for points on the road than at home.

    Any bets that the Flames will have a worst record this October than they did last October despite having all hands on deck this year?

    I wonder how long before the Flames realize GG isn’t the right man for the job? Then does Tre douse that tire fire with fat by replacing him with Cameron?

    On the plus side, Johnson looked very good as did Stewie. They both earned starts in the next game.

  • King Quong

    You can say one thing about Hartley he was a great motivator and apparently his camps and practices were very demanding. If only we had a combination of him and Gulutzan, Hartleys teams were always well conditioned and skated great but didn’t have great detailed systems. We need a combination of Gulutzans details and Hartleys demanding motivation a team that can play fast and do the little things right.