October 15, 2016: Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
Just like last season, Vancouver will start with a game versus the arch-rival Calgary Flames.
The Canucks hope that the schedule is the only thing this rivalry has in common with last season. The Flames beat the Canucks in the season series 4-1, outscoring them 20-13.
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The Flames upgraded their goaltending in the offseason, dumping Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio and replacing them with Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. Their league-worst save percentage should improve.
Hopefully, newcomer Loui Eriksson can help the Canucks close the gap.
The usual tough game against a rival, with few goals but a lot of scrums and penalties. The Canucks win it because, hey, we need some positivity to start the year.
I predict the Canucks beat Calgary 6-1 and the Sedin-Eriksson line scores 4 goals. (I’ve picked them in all my hockey pools, so this is a bit of wishful thinking.)
After waiting until Jan 17 to score his first NHL goal, Ben Hutton will open the scoring for the Canucks this season. The Sedins and Eriksson will take over after that, combining for two, including a power-play goal. Alex Burrows will add the empty-netter.