Following a 4-3 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks will look to win consecutive games as they host the slumping Calgary Flames.
Just when it looked like the sky was falling, the Vancouver Canucks were able to win their first home game against the San Jose Sharks in nearly six whole years. The win put Vancouver back in the playoff hopes, as contributions from the entire forward unit helped this team pick up two points.
But Sunday’s bout with the Calgary Flames is quite important, too. Both teams are on the outside looking in, and both have struggled to string together some wins. The Canucks are losers of seven in their last 11, while the Flames dropped their third straight decision on Saturday, and have won just two of their last eight games.
There is a difference here, however. The Canucks are supposed to be rebuilding, so anything happening right now is just gravy. The Flames are actually supposed to be a championship contender, but have been mired in mediocrity.
So who gets the two big points in this one? Here’s all you need to know for tonight.
2017-18 record: 15-14-4
2016-17 record vs Flames: 3-2-0
Goals for: 87
Goals against: 100
Injuries courtesy of RotoWorld: Brandon Sutter (upper body,-day-to day), Erik Gudbranson (upper body, week to week), Bo Horvat (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks), Chris Tanev (groin, out two-three weeks), Sven Baertschi (broken jaw, out four-to-six weeks)
Who’s on offence
Brock Boeser continues to shine despite being without his two linemates. He’s got 17 goals on the season, and is rolling with a five-game point streak.
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Boeser has two goals and an assist in three meetings against the Flames this season, and their vulnerable blue line just hasn’t been able to keep up with ‘The Flow’.
Markus Granlund faces his former team yet again, and it comes at an opportune time. He’ll be full of confidence after scoring two goals on Friday against the Sharks. Granlund will continue to see more chances and ice time with Horvat and Baertschi out. Can he regain his form from last year?
Who’s on defence
Derrick Pouliot has been arguably the Canucks best defenceman not named Chris Tanev so far this season. He’s shown the ability to log minutes on the power play, but has been excellent in his own zone as well. Pouliot will have the tough task of slowing down the Flames top weapons, which is easier said than done.
Who’s in net
Head coach Travis Green has made Jacob Markstrom his main guy in goal, so expect ‘Marky’ to get the start again. He was excellent against the Sharks on Friday, so there’s no reason to expect a change.
Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin— Thomas Vanek
Loui Eriksson—Sam Gagner—Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin—Alex Burmistrov—Jake Virtanen
Brendan Gaunce—Markus Granlund—Nic Dowd
Alexander Edler—Derrick Pouliot
Ben Hutton—Troy Stecher
Michael Del Zotto—Alex Biega
*lineups courtesy of Daily Faceoff
2017-18 record: 16-14-3
2016-17 record vs Canucks: 2-2-1
Goals for: 91
Goals against: 101
Who’s on offence
Johnny Gaudreau is in the running for the scoring title with 39 points on the season. He’s been a thorn in the side of the Canucks’ defence, with three points in as many meetings against them on the season. Without Tanev, it won’t be easy containing him.
Sean Monahan can pick apart this team with his speed and all-around skill. Like Gaudreau, Monahan has three points against the Canucks this season. This is going to be a brutally tough matchup for the Vancouver defence.
Who’s on defence
Dougie Hamilton is starting to come around on offence, but the man remains an absolute force in his own zone. Hamilton owns a 56.7 Corsi For percentage, and averages 21:10 minutes per game. So, how does the struggling Vancouver offence deal with this 6-foot-6 stud? It’s not going to be easy.
Who’s in net
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk—Mikael Backlund — Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett — Mark Jankowski — Garnet Hathaway
Troy Brouwer — Matt Stajan — Curtis Lazar
Mark Giordano — Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie — Travis Hamonic
Michael Stone — Brett Kulak
The Canucks have the Flames right where they want them: Mired in a slump and playing back-to-back, with Mike Smith presumably sitting this one out. It’s all in place for Vancouver to come away with the win.
After a one-game hiatus, scoring returns as an issue for the Canucks. The likes of Giordano, Brodie, and Hamilton have no issue shutting down an offence that once again relies heavily on the Sedins. Oh and Tkachuk tallies a point.
The Canucks bounced back very well in the first period, but settled back down as the team we got use to last week. They were lucky that Gagner was able to find a new gear in overtime to score. Matthew Tkachuk has been feasting on the Canucks ever since he broke into the NHL. Gaudreau and Monahan will be tough to contain and the Canucks are going to make Mike Smith look like a Vezina-winner again. Count on Boeser for the only spark of offence for the Canucks.
A much needed win on Friday led by the Sedins and a rejuvenated Markus Granlund took the pressure off a team that was on the verge of falling off a cliff. The extra breathing room helps them relax and play their game against Calgary, and took attention away from the unnecessary drama around Goldobin. He’ll score and the Canucks will win one more before embarking on another losing streak when Guddy and Sutter get back in the lineup.