Spy vs Spy

The first matchup in a back-to-back set has the Calgary Flames facing off in Vancouver, and we’ve asked writers from both FlamesNation and CanucksArmy to get you set for tonight’s matchup. We’ve also put together a few notes to get you ready for game one of the home and home. 

Please note that this article is posted at both CanucksArmy and FlamesNation


Friday, January 6th, 2017 – Rogers Arena (Vancouver) – 8pm (MST/7pm (PST) on Sportsnet West/Pacific

Calgary Flames Vancouver Canucks
21-17-2 (4th in the Pacific)  19-18-3 (6th in the Pacific)
6-4-0 in their last 10 7-2-1 in their last 10
Power Play (PP%): 20.7% (10th) Power Play (PP%): 13.9% (27th)
Penalty Kill (PK%): 81.6% (16th) Penalty Kill (PK%): 80.3% (21st)
FlamesNation_white CanucksArmy_white

Today’s Meeting:

Tonight’s matchup sees the suddenly red-hot Canucks facing the Calgary Flames at home in Vancouver. Both teams are riding winning streaks right now (five games for Vancouver, two games for Calgary) and will be looking to climb further up the Pacific Division ladder. With this being the first game in a back-to-back set there could be an eight point swing between the two clubs, and both teams will be battling to continue their respective winning streaks. 

Points Leaders:

Bo Horvat (VAN) – 12G, 15A = 27 points

Johnny Gaudreay (CAL) – 10G, 16A = 26 points

Henrik Sedin (VAN) – 9G, 17A = 26 points

Mikael Backlund (CAL) – 12G, 13A = 25 points

Sven Baertschi (VAN) – 11G, 12A = 23 points

Matthew Tkachuk (CAL) – 7G, 16A = 23 points




Chad Johnson 22 22 13 8 0 1 640 51 2.34 589 .920 3 1,310
Brian Elliott 19 18 8 9 0 1 502 53 2.90 449 .894 0 1,099


Jacob Markstrom 20 17 8 8 0 2 526 46 2.60 480 .913 0 1,061
Ryan Miller 23 23 11 10 0 1 685 60 2.65 625 .912 1 1,360


Why is your team going to win or why will your enemy lose?

Ari Yanover (FlamesNation):

The Flames are, simply put, better. Mikael Backlund is playing the best hockey of his life, and Matthew Tkachuk is already a bonafide NHLer. T.J. Brodie is rounding back into form, giving them good options on defence lately. And oh – the Flames have been absolutely crushing it the past month, and are a good game or two away from becoming a positive corsi team.

J.D. Burke (CanucksArmy):

The Canucks are in the midst of their longest win streak of the season. They’re as healthy as they’ve ever been. Sven Baertschi is riding a percentage high all the way to a fifty-plus point season. Crazy as this sounds, the Canucks aren’t a desirable matchup at this exact moment.

Who’s hot? Who’s not?

Ari Yanover

Backlund, who can reliably counted on to be at least a half a point-per-game player, is playing with the best linemates he ever has in Tkachuk and Michael Frolik and it’s paying off now more than ever. Johnny Gaudreau is capable of taking over a game at any moment – oh, and Kris Versteeg is pretty dangerous, too. And so is the Flames’ powerplay – not too long ago the worst in the NHL; now top 10.

J.D. Burke

I know this is going to painful for Flames fans, but it’s Baertschi. He’s tied for third on the Canucks in scoring and on pace to set career highs in goals and assists. He also has six points in his last four games. Honourable mention for the Canucks goaltenders, too.

Why should people watch this game?

Ari Yanover

It’s a divisional rivalry! What’s not to love about that? The Flames need to beat the teams below them to stay in the playoff picture and they’ve been doing just that, and have really been scoring more as of late. Goals are fun. Also, Gaudreau creates goals like, constantly. Watch it for Gaudreau. Everybody loves Gaudreau. … And Backlund.

J.D. Burke

If the Canucks win, that’s six straight. There’s your reason to go out, have a few beers and celebrate. Or if you’re a Flames fan, that’s reason to commiserate over a few. There’s also the playoff implications, I guess. Those are important. 

Say something nice about your opponent.

Ari Yanover

I still like Sven. Whatever. And the Sedins can be really fun to watch. Wait, they’re how old now? And with what cap hit? On a team where in the standings? Oh my.

J.D. Burke

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Rasmus Andersson. He might turn out to be a serviceable second or third pair defenceman. What a find! What’d you give up for that pick anyways?

Any last words?

Ari Yanover

‘Member how the last game between these two played out? I ‘member.

J.D. Burke

Glen Gulutzan is a real treat. I hope you’re enjoying him. The guy survived regime change as a member of John Tortorella’s staff, so that has to count for something.


Join in the conversation on Twitter at @FlamesNation and @CanucksArmy to give us your thoughts on the game. Social media not your thing? Keep the battle going in the game day articles at FlamesNation.ca and CanucksArmy.com.

  • Vintage

    “Say something nice about your opponent.

    Ari Yanover

    I still like Sven. Whatever. And the Sedins can be really fun to watch. Wait, they’re how old now? And with what cap hit? On a team where in the standings? Oh my.”

    Sean Monohan is how old, and at what cap hit, and still below two old men statistically speaking, oh my

  • Jamie E

    So if the Canucks are a terrible, terrible team and are only three points behind the Flames does that make you guys a pretty terrible as well? Or does it mean the Canucks are better then people gave them credit for?

    PS – Your welcome for Tkachuk. Thanks for Bear.

  • Azim

    As much as I hate to admit it, the Canucks are playing well and well above any sane-minded person’s expectations. And wow, Sven is on pace for close to 50 points?! Great to see him fulfill his promise. Just wish it wasn’t on the dastardly Canucks team.

    Go Flames Go!

    • Killer Marmot

      Even accepting that Baertschi may not have had the best attitude a few years back, Flames management mishandled the situation by going public with their complaints against him. That’s a big no-no, particularly when dealing with a young player.

      • Derzie

        70% on Burke, 20% on Hartley, 10% on Treliving. Paul Byron-like screw up. Fans all knew it for both.

        We can ease the pain if Vancouver takes GG back. Chaisson comes with him though.

    • KiLLKiND

      You seem completely oblivious to the fact that Sven wanted out, Vancouver is the team that gave us the best offer and we didn’t have room for him at the NHL level. A 2nd for Sven was a good trade at the time, the pick being used on Andersson is just gravy.

      Is Sven doing well now? Yes. Would I rather have Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Ferland and Andersson on the back end? Easy yes, especially as Andersson shoots right and will be replacing Engelland/Wideman. The trade worked for both teams, which is great as I do like Sven. He wasn’t succeeding with the Flames and a fresh start seemed to be best for both Calgary and him.

      It’s really hard to judge a trade like this so early when one player is a 1st-year pro and the other is in his 6th…

      • Whackanuck

        Well, there’s a reason Sven wanted out and that’s on the Flames management which is kind of the point. The Flames had to go to free agents to fill the winger spot Baertschi could have filled. Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Ferland are irrelevant as they weren’t acquired because of the Baer trade. Essentially trading a first round pick for a second round pick isn’t good business. But it all works out in a few years so yeah, I’d say win-win if Andersson becomes a top 4D.

        • KiLLKiND

          Yak got traded for a 3rd and an ECHLer, getting a 2nd for a 1st rounder that we wouldn’t try and make room for at the NHL level despite his success in the AHL was satisfactory. Sven definitely should have been managed better by the Flames, but he wasn’t andI even felt bad for him at the time as he never was given a chance to succeed with the Flames. When he did play in the NHL we wouldn’t use him to his strengths as Hartley didn’t want to mess around with the lineup.


          I’m almost 100% sure you are just a closet anti flames troll, You want Sven for his size??? You seem to be grasping at straws to be anti-Flames. It would be nice if Ferland had his skill, but nobody wants Sven for his size, they want him for his skill.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I never liked the treatment that Baertchi received from Burke and the coaching staff. However, Baertchi had plenty of chances to crack the line up and never delivered. Personally, I think Rasmussen is going to be a really good NHL defender once he gets his fitness on track. I think the Granlund vs Shinkaruk trade is a wash.

        • Bud Poile

          Granlund is projecting 28 points right now but is coming on as of late so 35 points is not out of the question.

          Baertschi is projecting 50 points.

          85 points for Shinkaruk and a second.

          We all love Burkie.

  • Scary Gary

    You could say Sven was a perimeter player that didn’t go to the hard areas but he also wasn’t given much of a chance by the GM/coach; I mean who wouldn’t rather have Setoguchi, McGrattan and Bollig playing instead (grit!).

  • piscera.infada

    Sven wanted out because there was a coach and a POHO who routinely afforded him less slack than a number of other prospects within the organisation. He (somewhat) rightly wanted out, and they gave it to him. My biggest problem with the trade at the time was trading him within division.

    Now that all said, I’m not convinced Sven has had some sort of “Eureka” moment here. He’s riding some high on-ice percentages, and he’s still weak in a number of areas. Would I still like to have him on the Flames? Sure. I’d take him over a number of players on the current roster.

    I also wouldn’t be so quick to pencil Andersson into any lineup, but yeah, if he continues the path he’s trending on, that trade will work out very nicely for the Flames. If we also factor into it that (when coupled with the Glencross return) the added flexibility within the 2015 second and third rounds allowed them to acquire Hamilton, Andersson, and Kylington in one offseason, that looks like a pretty decent legacy–regardless of how Sven turns out.

    All in all, I liked Sven, but it was fairly clear that it was never going to work in Calgary. Sometimes that happens (rightly or wrongly). I’m not sure it’s near as easy as saying “the trade was a loss”, though.

  • Dirty30

    Say something nice: “At least you’re not the Oilers!”

    Calgary was a fun team for a long time with Iggy and Kipper! Jerome showed a ton of class when Trev played his last game in Van and brought the Flames back on the ice to give him a proper send off. Class all the way.

    Ferlund shows no class — hope he finally brings out the Beast in Tryamkin … couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

    Fond memories of your city … great cheesecake and the ladies serving it! My oh my!

    Have a great game gents!

    Go Canucks!

    • piscera.infada

      Ferlund shows no class — hope he finally brings out the Beast in Tryamkin … couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

      Let’s let this sink in, while remembering an organisation that has employed Alex Burrows for over a decade…

    • MontanaMan

      What did Ferlund do that didn’t show class? He had an outstanding playoff series, throwing more than one Canuck off their game. The mental games he played with many of the Canucks (especially Bieksa) was brilliant. Clearly he was a difference maker in the series – so other than the Canucks losing, what is your point?

    • OKG

      Name one dirty or classless thing Ferland has done. He has made his career by finishing clean checks, focusing on the actual game (influencing the score) and answering the bell when the other team gets mad and wants to go. He even gives the Sedins full respect in the media. Not his fault Vancouver had Sbisa, Bieksa, Edler, and Hamhuis waiting around to get rocked in the playoffs to the extent of playing like a whole team of Justin Schultzes. That’s on them.

  • TheRealPB

    Wait, is all the trash talk just going to be about Baertschi and Anderson? What about Shinkaruk? I hear he’s tearing it up in the NHL while Granlund toils in Utica for us…

    Hopefully the Canucks actually show up to this game and it isn’t the snoozefest from last time (or they get, you know, at least the equivalent of 5 shots a period).

    Does Boucher draw in or will it be Rodin? Tryamkin is ready for a hulk smash moment. Also, assuming the Flames don’t have a disastrous third pairing like the Avs and the Coyotes, I’m not sure there will be quite the same smooth sailing for the Horvat line to enter the offensive zone.

  • defenceman factory

    Didn’t really like the last speaking with the enemy bit but flames fans show a lot more class than Oiler fans. Yanover isn’t quite the jerk Baggedmilk is either.

    Flames have some good young players, fun to watch. Hope the
    canucks and flames continue to improve and within a couple years battle it out for the top of the division.

    Looking forward to a good game

    • TheRealPB

      Is Shinkaruk progressing from where the Canucks management had him pegged last year (a perimeter player who would be relatively dominant at the AHL but have a tough go in the NHL)? I was always a bit surprised that they were that harsh given how well he seemed to play at the AHL level and in preseason. He displayed a level of creativity that I haven’t seen in just about any other Canucks’ prospect or young player (aside more recently from Horvat). He also continues to produce at the AHL level for you this year. Does he just need seasoning? Did he just get bypassed on the depth chart by Tkachuk? It’s hard for me to see Chiassion or Versteeg as necessarily better options but I haven’t seen the Flames play that much. Granlund is much better than he was given credit last year at the trade and after — strong on the puck, positionally sound, decent skill, though unlikely to be much more than a complementary player.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Shinkaruk is following a similar path to Baertschi in his early years. There was a spot for him to win but he just didn’t do it. In fairness, he was not given top 6 opportunities enough, similar to Baertschi. He has been really quiet since returning to the AHL and has dropped a bit. He needs to find that Ahaa moment that Baertschi found. The good news is that, the Calgary brass are unlikely to make the same mistakes.

    • OKG

      He’s a whatever prospect. Great edges and nose for the net but probably behind Mangiapane, Klimchuk and Poirier among our wingers as his all around game is just blah… not much vision or strength. At least he’s got finish, though. I’m glad Granlund is having a good season though, always liked him but he would be our sixth best centre behind Backlund Jankowski Bennett Monahan Stajan

      • Hunter was a sought after prospect here in Vancouver. High skill level, lots of determination, but possibly a lack of physical strength. He had an early injury to overcome, which set his development back, but with no long term problem. He played well in Utica and was thought by many to be a 2nd line winger or better, at the NHL level. Hope he can make it work in Calgary.

  • TurkeyLips

    Big game, big points.

    Have to say Bo Horvat is a rising star, anyone would love to have him on their team. Future Canucks captain no doubt.

    It may be a long shot but I hope the Orcas finish ahead of the Oilers in the standings this year, after Flames clinch the division of course.

    • Gkpoil

      Put down the bong buddy, the flames will not even come close to clinching the division this year. You guys have put up some wins against weaker opponents as of late, but take a look at your last 20 games of the year, have fun with that. The Oil may have slowed down from October but their tough part of the year is over…

      • piscera.infada

        That moment when an off-the-cuff comment, made in jest flies completely over your head and causes you to respond like a raving moron. Puff your chest out elsewhere…

        This is quite literally the worst possible forum to expect Oilers’ platitudes. But, you know, Edmontonians gonna Edmonton…

      • Derzie

        Ignore the Bettman loser points. They only matter at the end of the season (shouldn’t matter at all). If you want to compare teams, look at wins. Just wins. Only thing worth bragging about. Flames have more.

  • The GREAT WW

    Enough already with this: “my B prospect is better than your B prospect” garbage….

    Let’s talk about Tkachuk; what a BEAST!!!!!

    How’s Juolevi doing? Captain of the defending champion Fins……how did that work out for them?!


    • Jamie E

      Hey, we’re a little nervous about Juolevi here in Vancouver and we’re man enough to admit it. With that said, he played very well for us in pre-season and I think he’s one of those players who just plays better with structure in a pro environment. Am I worried that he was a reach? Yes. Am I worried that he will be a NHL regular? No.

      What we SHOULD be trash talking about is that coach of yours who ran the worst PP we’ve ever seen here in Vancouver and was rewarded with your head coaching job and has led your team to a truly underwhelming performance so far this season.

      • Cfan in Vic

        PP is currently running over 20% and the wins are definitely starting to trickle in, now that everyone’s acclimatizing to completely different systems (first 15 games or so were rough). His Player usage is, for the most part, more logical that in the Hartley era… Definitely far from perfect, but no major coaching complaints here.

        What was your point again?

      • Lucky 13

        Ok so I’m making this exception once. Trash talking about Gully?
        How many times have you (fans) called for Willies head this year?
        You’re a pathetic Canuck fan (most of Canuck fans are educated enough not to
        spew venom just for the sake of rivalry) guessing you’re the exception

        Read the stats on Flames and special teams before making assumptions!

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Juollevi was not my choice when Calgary was going to pick 6th. I thought you guys would have jumped on Tkachuck but we are thrilled that you left him for us. Having said that, I wanted Nylander but it became clear that the Calgary brass preferred Juollevi over Nylander…so I can’t see all these experts being wrong about this player.

    • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

      I know you’re not short-sighted enough to believe one player controls a team’s destiny… or are you? Nice to see Tkachuk producing in his rookie year. Look forward to seeing if he can beat out Baertschi this year. Or maybe after a tough series he’ll progress like Ferland after his dominant playoff series. Wait Ferland had 4 goals last year? Same number as Vey? How’s Vey doing for you guys anyways…

      • piscera.infada

        I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re trying to get at here, but are you trying to draw some sort of equivalency between Tkachuk and Baertschi? They both have 23 points in a similar number of games. One has superb underlying numbers, the other doesn’t. The one that does? 5 years less development time.

        • Bud Poile

          One was a coveted first round pick by the Flames and the other was a Calgary first round pick that they pissed off.

          Think of it this way-we got Ollie and Sven- and Burke looks like Burke once again.

          • oilersuck

            Ollie has 63 points in 83 OHL games (0.759/game)

            Andersson got 124 points in 131 OHL games (0.946/game).

            In Sven’s first “full” NHL season at 23 years old he had 28 points in 69 games (0.406/game).

            Tkachuk has 23 in 36 so far as a 18/19 year old (0.639/game)

            Ollie+Sven vs Tkachuk+Andersson. I’ll take Tkachuk and Andersson.

          • Bud Poile

            Ollie excels defensively while adding very reasonable offense.

            He’s a d-man.

            Sven and Tkachuk have the same points totals.

            Difference is Ollie is projected as a top-two NHL d-man so your analysis/comparison is lacking a fair or realistic conclusion.

          • flames2015

            Anderson is also a d-man.

            Tkachuk and Baertchi have the same pt totals yes, difference being Tkachuk is 19 and in his first year of pro hockey straight from juniors, while Baertchi has 6 years of pro development on him.

          • Bud Poile

            The difference is Benning stole Baer off Burke for a second.

            Your second has never seen a game of NHL hockey while the Canucks have had Sven for 1.5 years of play.

            Who cares about Tkachuk but Flames fans?

            He has nothing to do with acquiring Sven.

            Look at the score in the game and get back to counting your chickens before they hatch.

      • Cfan in Vic

        Walter can speak for himself, but Vey seems to be filling out the AHL roster nicely. Exactly as intended.

        Ferly is riding an incredibly low shooting % this year, but continues to drive play and hit folks hard. You’ll probably get a demo of his work over the next two games.

        Tkachuk vs. Baertschi is a bit of a silly comparison, given that Chuck is already quite a monster at barely 19yo. One of our best possession players to boot.

        • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

          The Baertschi thing wasn’t really a shot as Tkachuk has been lights out producing as 3rd best forward in the class. Don’t understand Juolevi digs when they play different positions, whereas Puljujarvi/Dubois are both forwards. Somewhat of a reach if you ask me. And Ferland is returning to form but far off the top 6 pace I heard from a lot of fans a few years ago. He could carve out a very nice role in bottom 6, great for playoffs. Also, Vey filling out the AHL roster ain’t exactly a ringing endorsement. But hey, we actually played him in the NHL so I guess we are the fools there ahaha

  • Lucky 13

    I’m not trash talking, I’ll save that for others, plus I kinda feel horrible that no Canadian teams made the playoffs last year. I hate Bettman and I’d love to smush his arrogant face, but I’ll leave that in my safe place for now.

    I’m a Flames fan and I like the Sedins.. I don’t care what anyone thinks either.
    At 37 they still have game left in their tank. Should they be 1st line guys?
    Not with AHL players posted on their hips (wing) Didn’t you guys pick up Erickkson to play with them at $6M? What happened there?

    And I attribute the 5 game winning streak to Tanev and Edler being healthy once again. Yes you can say Horvat and Sven have picked up their games, but solid D always prevails in wins.

    I’m looking forward to this back-to- back, should be a great mini series. I hope there’s tons of drama, big hits, offensive and defensive marvels and stellar goaltending ..
    (Never mind Junior Hockey’s over)
    I will be screaming at my tv and drinking craft beer instead!

    • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

      Yeah seems everyone knows that Megna shouldn’t be with the Sedins other than the great Willie Desjardins. Eriksson deserves to play with the Sedins as that combo has the best underlying numbers of any Sedin line this year I believe. This series will be fun. I look forward to yelling out conspiracy theories and cursing out your (slightly) better team for the next 48 hours. Good luck y’all!

  • hulkingloooooob

    Re: sven

    Sure, he might be good in the O zone but he’ll never be a quality 2 way player.
    The more he scores the more he delays the official rebuild, keeping the Canucks in the middle of the pack just prevents them from getting better. Meanwhile our patience pays off with a stud d man. I still like this trade A LOT! Now ferkie, go show bear how hockey is played.

  • defenceman factory

    As this speaking with the enemy is new, flames fans may not be familiar with CanucksArmy’s dear old Bud Poile.

    He is a devote Canucks fan, sometimes insightful but always loyal. He only wears rose coloured glasses and will argue meaningless points making endless posts well into the wee hours if you engage. Best just to smile and shake your head.