Vancouver Canucks game preview: Looking to burn out the Flames

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: Mark Giordano
CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: Mark Giordano /

In a crucial Pacific Division battle, the Vancouver Canucks will look to cool off the improving Calgary Flames on Saturday night. Here is the complete game preview, with lineups, predictions and more.

The Vancouver Canucks are barely holding onto the eighth seed in the Western Conference, and it’s going to be extremely difficult hanging in the playoff race without Bo Horvat for the next six weeks.

With its top centre out long-term with a fracture in his foot, the Canucks are going to need key players to step up. Unfortunately, nobody did in Thursday’s ugly 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers — a team who had just played the night before and recently owned a 10-game losing streak.

The Canucks now travel to visit the Calgary Flames for their third meeting on the season. Calgary took three of four points in their road trip, cleaning up the defensive play while Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan continue to chase the scoring title.

Needless to say, both teams need the two points. Vancouver leads Calgary via tiebreaker, with three teams right behind them at 31 points each. Here is our game preview for tonight’s game.

0. 104. Final. 0. 112

Vancouver Canucks


2017-18 record: 14-11-4

2017-18 record vs Flames: 3-2-0

Goals for: 79

Goals against: 81

Injuries courtesy of RotoWorldBrandon Sutter (upper body,-day-to day), Erik Gudbranson (upper body, week to week), and Bo Horvat (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks)

Who’s on offence

Brock Boeser: So how will the Canucks prized rookie look without his top centre? Sam Gagner didn’t have much of an impact at all against Philly, but Boeser managed to score the team’s lone goal. He’s Vancouver’s only consistent scorer right now, so Boeser’s going to be needed a lot in this one.

More from The Canuck Way

Loui Eriksson: Eriksson has been held without a point in his last three games, so it’d be nice if he could rediscover his hot streak in this one. He didn’t register a single shot against Calgary in the Oct. 14 meeting, but perhaps Eriksson can penetrate this leaky Flames defence tonight.

Who’s on defence

Derrick Pouliot: The man had three points in Vancouver’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s not just the occasional offence, but Pouliot has emerged as an excellent shutdown defenceman for the Canucks. Can he contain the Flames lethal tandem of Gaudreau and Monahan?

Who’s in net

Expect Anders Nilsson to get the nod in this one. Jacob Markstrom has gotten the last three starts, and could use a rest after a busy night against the Flyers.

Projected lineup

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Loui Eriksson

Nikolay Goldobin—Sam Gagner—Brock Boeser

Sven Baertschi—Alex Burmistrov—Thomas Vanek

Brendan Gaunce—Markus Granlund—Jake Virtanen

Alexander Edler—Derrick Pouliot

Michael Del Zotto—Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton—Troy Stecher

Calgary Flames


2017-18 record: 15-12-2

2017-18 record vs Canucks: 2-2-1

Goals for: 84

Goals against: 92

Injuries courtesy of RotoWorld: Jaromir Jagr (lower body, day-to-day), Kris Versteeg (hip, month-to-month)

Who’s on offence

Sean Monahan: He’s enjoying a breakout season, with 30 points in 29 games. Monahan has a goal and two assists in a pair of meetings against the Canucks this season. With his do-it-all style of play, the Canucks are going to have quite the test tonight.

Johnny Gaudreau: ‘Johnny Hockey’ has 37 points in 29 games, and is an early favorite to win both the Hart and Art Ross Trophies. With his incredible speed and play-making skills, Gaudreau tends to give the Canucks too many problems to handle. We’ll see how the Canucks try to defend against this young star.

Who’s on defence

T.J. Brodie: Surprisingly, Brodie leads all Flames defencemen in points with 16. He’s bounced back nicely from a disappointing 2016-17 season. Brodie is a physical blueliner who also moves the puck extremely well up ice. Not a fun matchup if you’re the Canucks.

Who’s in net

Mike Smith: Smith has played above expectations despite having a leaky defence in front of him. He has an excellent .918 save percentage, and has stolen a few games for Calgary that they had no business winning. Definitely one of the better goalies Vancouver will face all season.

Keys to victory

Vancouver Canucks

  • Brock Boeser is a magic man. Give him the puck as often as possible. Let him shoot the puck as much as possible.
  • The Sedin twins seem to play their best hockey against Calgary. They’ll need to play more minutes than usual, and it would help if they could possess the puck to dictate the game. That’s the most effective way of playing against these speedy yet physical Flames.
  • Stay out of the penalty box. That’s cost hurt them against Philly.

Calgary Flames

  • Strong defence. The Flames have looked much better in their own zone the last two games. They have arguably the most talented top-four unit in hockey, so there’s no excuse to be sloppy here.
  • Quick puck movement. The Canucks have struggled against fast teams who can transition from end-to-end. With Gaudreau and Brodie moving the puck, Calgary can easily wear down a banged-up Canucks team.
  • Protect the slot and faceoff circles. That’s where Boeser likes to make the most of his opportunities.


Alex Hoegler

104. Final. 5. 112. 2

The Canucks just don’t have the speed on defence to keep up with the rapidly improving Flames. Without Horvat, Calgary’s deep blue line will have an easier time managing this offence. This will be a rough night for the Canucks, who’ll lose their second-straight contest.

Andrew Nazareth

112. 3. 104. Final. 2

After a cold game against the Flyers, the Canucks turn up the heat against the Flames. Boeser scores, and so does Markus Granlund. Anders Nilsson gets the start.

Next: Vancouver Canucks news: Bo Horvat injury, Forbes, more

Scott Rosenhek

1. 112. 2. 104. Final

Travis Green was dropping swear words left and right at the last practice. The team will play a tight checking game, so you know what that means: it will be boring. Loui Eriksson and Nikolay Goldobin score while Sean Monahan gets the lone goal for the Flames. Nilsson plays well and the Canucks will make Smith look like a legitimate All-Star.