With the clock finally ticking on a new arena, the Calgary Flames (0-1-0, 0 points) begin what’s probably one of their five final seasons at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight when they host the Vancouver Canucks (0-1-0, 0 points). Both teams are coming off rough road losses to kick off their seasons, and are hoping to bounce back with strong performances.
The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on CBC (with Dave Randorf and Louie DeBrusk) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias)! There are ceremonies prior to puck drop, but the scheduled start time is around 8:15.
For a view from the other side, please visit our colleagues at Canucks Army!
Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Ryan – Lucic
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Rieder
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
David Rittich starts for the Flames, making his first career home opener start (and second of this season). He’s backed up by Cam Talbot. The healthy scratches tonight are Michael Stone and Austin Czarnik (who’s sore, but also being rotated out so Rieder can kill penalties).
The Flames were caught on their heels in Denver on Thursday night, taken aback in the first period by the speed and tenacity of the Avalanche. The result? Penalties, turnovers, and ultimately a 5-3 loss. They have last change tonight, which will help, but likely Thursday’s setback will serve as a bit of a wake-up call for the group – the live bullets have started firing now, and they’ll need to find another gear.
After morning skate, Flames head coach Bill Peters pointed to face-offs as a key to his club taking hold of the game early and getting to play their game:
Faceoffs. I don’t think we had the puck at all in the first period in our previous game. We didn’t win enough face-offs therefore we were on the defensive quite a bit. And they were able to get it in, make our D turn, and establish a forecheck. So we want to do the same thing tonight to Vancouver. Let’s make sure we’re battling on face-offs. Puck possession is important and when we have it, make a good decision.
Peters referred to his team’s five-on-five play on Thursday as a “mixed bag” and noted the challenge of getting all four lines going in a penalty-filled game. Winger Andrew Mangiapane agreed with his coach’s assessment, noting that they’ll need to stay out of the box and get their lines rolling to counter Vancouver’s speed and skill.
Three members of the Flames’ 2015 NHL Draft class will be in the lineup for tonight’s home opener: Mangiapane (166th), Rasmus Andersson (53rd) and Oliver Kylington (60th). Overall, the Flames are dressing 10 players they drafted and developed, plus two more (David Rittich and Mark Giordano) they recruited as free agents from outside the NHL system.
Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Ferland – Pettersson – Boeser
Pearson – Horvat – Miller
Leivo – Gaudette – Virtanen
Schaller – Beagle – Sutter
Edler – Myers
Hughes – Tanev
Benn – Stecher
Jacob Markstrom starts for the Canucks, backed up by Thatcher Demko. The projected scratches are Oscar Fantenberg (Forever A Flame) and Loui Eriksson.
The Canucks were the better team in Edmonton everywhere but the scoreboard. They out-hustled, out-skated and out-played the Oilers, but the home side had Connor McDavid and that was enough to tilt things. Tonight, the Canucks will likely be looking to remain that poised and tenacious – on most nights, that level of effort should be enough to capture two points.
*- Yeah, we know, it was 31 years ago. But still…
The Flames are without D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery).
The Canucks are missing F Antoine Roussel (knee surgery) and F Tyler Motte (upper body).
When Last We Met
These two teams last played each other back in March, when the Flames won 3-1. But the Canucks took three of their five meetings last season and the Flames captured six of a possible 10 points.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight’s opener: