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


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 GaudreauSean MonahanAlex Chiasson
Matthew TkachukMikael BacklundMichael Frolik
Kris VersteegSam BennettMicheal Ferland
Lance BoumaMatt StajanFreddie Hamilton

Mark GiordanoDougie Hamilton
T.J. BrodieDennis Wideman
Tyler WotherspoonDeryk 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 SedinHenrik SedinJayson Megna
Loui ErikssonBrandon SutterMarkus Granlund
Sven BaertschiBo HorvatAnton Rodin
Brendan GaunceMichael ChaputJack Skille

Alexander EdlerTroy Stecher
Luca SbisaChris Tanev
Ben HuttonNikita 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.

    • OKG

      Adam Fox is also about six inches shorter and 5lbs heavier and gets tons of PP ice on a perennially good team..context. When Jankowski got to Providence they were the worst team in Hockey East and he should have played a USHL season having come straight outta Stanstead Prep School

      • ClayBort

        Stats for Fox

        Counting Exhibition

        Pace (40games) 68pts

        46% of points 5 on 5 or shorthanded

        43% primary points

        Not counting exhibition

        Pace (40 games) 60pts

        39% 5 on 5 or shorthanded

        47% primary points

        These numbers may not seem high for a forward, but he’s a D… context. These are very stellar numbers for a dman. He’s the superior prospect today, let alone when Janko was a Freshman. It’s not very close either.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        Not that much tougher. And Fox plays a position where scoring is typically more of a premium. Janko’s rookie NCAA NHLE was 16.1, Fox’s is sitting at 28.3, and that’s taking league/conference difficultly into account. I see your point though, I’m pretty sure H-East is considered the toughest of the NCAA conferences.

  • cgyokgn

    Oh, that is sad… wasn’t Miller already down? Okay, I do see contact. Never mind. It was a waste of a challenge because they had already ruled it incidental contact.

  • freethe flames

    Nice pass by Chaisson; so close Johnny. When the season started I had concerns about players needing to have bounce back years these included Chaisson, Stajan, Ferland and Bouma. 2 of the 4 have shown counting stats improvement this year over last season. Chaisson and Stajan. Ferland has played well but his counting stats have not been there and well Bouma is Bouma.

  • freethe flames

    So our third line scores the opener? (The way they have played they an hardly be called a third line but that was what they were projected as to start the season)

  • cgyokgn

    Finally get to watch the Flames play on Sportsnet Pacific on back-to-back nights because of course they’re playing the Canucks. I think these games will be telling: has Elliott regained his form? Will our special teams continue to produce goals and limit goals against? Can we beat a team on the rise close to us in the standings? GFG!

    • Lucky 13

      Sportsnet Pacific featuring Bert and Ernie as play by play and color commentary.
      Garrett is such a homer, he makes my ears bleed.
      Shorthouse or whatever his name is sounds like a cartoon character with that voice.

      Gawd I’m gunna puke listening to them.
      Might as well get drunk ,at least I can handle my own slurs over the ambient noise 🙂

  • deantheraven

    Gawd, I hate them Canucks!
    I grew up on the Battle of Alberta, but the Canucks have replaced the Oilers at the top of the
    “Teams You Want to Crush the Most ‘Cause They’re Such Ass Hats” list for all the obvious, riots- er reasons.
    GFG !!

  • Lucky 13

    I’m still a bit salty from the Junior game. “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play ”

    I hate that song, (it’s stuck in my head) however it shares my sentiments. I want our boys to appreciate how much they need to win these back-to- back games.

    No shortcuts, no excuses, no Wideman conspiracy, just play your ass off and win!

    Their top line features Megna with the Sedins. And we complain about Gully?
    What the hell is Willie doing with that combo? Megna is an AHL player at best.
    Whatever.

    Ferland go “sick em” and Johnny be your wizardry self.
    Elliott time to shut the mouths of the lions den and put this goalie scenario to rest. We have faith in you and Johnson.

    I’m salty and I don’t care.. eat poo Nucks!

      • Lucky 13

        Yeah ok, Chiasson = Megna

        Megna- 77 total games in the NHL and 15 points =.18 points per game

        Chiasson 279 games and 95 points =. 34 points per game.

        As a Flame 40 games and 13 points = .325 per game

        You wanna stick to that?
        Cuz there’s no comparison and yes I’m not saying he’s always used properly either, but at least he contributes and isn’t a defensive liability.

      • Lucky 13

        If you say so then it must be true! You coaching tonight?

        I warned you that I’m salty, when do I care what you have to say at this juncture?
        It’s rhetorical