Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Flames (4.10.13)
|Team Record: 22-11-6
Last Game: 2-0 W vs Phoenix (APR.08.13)
Season Series: 3-1-0
Last Meeting: 5-2 W (APR.06.13)
|Team Record: 14-20-4
Last Game: 3-1 W at Colorado (APR.08.13)
Season Series: 1-2-1
Last Meeting: 2-5 L (APR.06.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (22-11-6) begin their final extended road trip of the season tonight when they close out their season series against the Calgary Flames (14-20-4) at the Scotiabank Saddledome.What You Need to Know
- The Canucks are coming off a perfect sweep of their three-game home stand and will be beginning their final extended road trip of the season – a five-game trip that begins tonight in Calgary and wraps up eight days from now in Dallas.
- The Canucks may bring a three-game win streak into tonight's tilt but they will be looking to snap a two-game road losing streak. Before this recent road funk, they had won four in a row away from Rogers Arena.
- The Flames are coming off a 3-1 victory in Colorado on Monday – their first victory in the post-Iginla era. The win also snapped their five-game losing streak.
- The Flames are playing the first game of a short two-game home stand tonight. It is part of a stretch that seems them play five of their next six games at the Scotiabank Saddledome before closing out their season with four straight road games.
- The Flames have lost their last two straight home games while being out-scored by a combined 14-6 count in those outings. Prior to that, Calgary had won eight straight in front of their home fans. The Flames have also won three in a row on home ice against the Canucks dating back to last season.
- The Canucks begin play today sitting four points ahead of the idle Wild for first place in the race for the Northwest Division title. Both teams have played 39 games to date. The Wild don't play again until Thursday when they host the St. Louis Blues.
- Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault shared some bad news at practice yesterday as he revealed both Chris Tanev (leg) and Chris Higgins (lower body) are out indefinitely and won't join the team on their road trip. Both could potentially be out for the remainder of the regular season.
- Tonight marks the fifth and final meeting between the Canucks and Flames this season. Vancouver has already clinched the season series by winning three of the first four games to date, including netting a 5-2 victory in the most recent meeting four nights ago at Rogers Arena.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider is coming off his fifth shutout of the season and his fourth in his last nine starts. Tonight will mark his 12th straight start. Schneider is a perfect 3-0-0 against the Flames this season with a 1.63 GAA and a .954 save percentage.
- Canucks F Henrik (1-5-6) and Daniel Sedin (0-6-6) share the points lead in the season series with six each. Flames F Lee Stempniak (2-2-4) and F Matt Stajan (0-4-4) share the lead in points among all Calgary players.
Tonight's game faces off at 6:30 pm PT and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They play like they're at home. The Canucks usually get pretty good crowd support whenever they play at the Saddledome so maybe they can make believe they're actually at Rogers Arena. The Canucks have been dominant at home lately but the road hasn't been quite as friendly. They have lost back-to-back road games and have been out-scored by a combined 7-2 in those two outings.
- They finish their scoring chances. The Canucks may have dominated the Coyotes in their last outing from buzzer-to-buzzer but they were still just a bad bounce or two away from potentially losing that game. Vancouver will want to dig deep and bury their scoring opportunities when they get them tonight knowing that Calgary is one of those teams with enough offensive firepower that can potentially pull off an upset win if the game is tight late. The Canucks certainly capitalized on all their chances in the last head-to-head meeting against the Flames scoring five times on just 22 shots.
- They don't use injuries as an excuse. The euphoria of Ryan Kesler's return on Monday has been dampened somewhat with the news that Chris Higgins and Chris Tanev are both out indefinitely. That being said, the Canucks have dealt with injuries plenty of times this season and while they'll miss having those two in the lineup, their absence shouldn't be enough to affect their ability to win.
The Flames Win If...
- They don't play to lose. The Flames don't have anything left to play for this season and their fans might actually be hoping they drop every game from here on out to increase their odds at picking first overall at the NHL Entry Draft. That being said, the Flames showed on Monday with their win in Denver that they still have a modicum of pride left in them and they're not quite ready to roll over and play dead. If the Flames play as if the game still means something to them, then they have a chance of pulling off an upset and perhaps walking away with two points.
- Their goaltender steals a game. Whether it's Kiprusoff or MacDonald between the pipes tonight, the Flames will need their netminder to stand on his head against a Vancouver team that has out-scored them 14-9 so far in the season series.
- They contain the twins. Daniel and Henrik Sedin have had their way against the Flames so far in the season series combining for one goal and 12 point with half of their combined points all coming in the most recent meeting four nights ago. Calgary might not be able to completely shut down the duo but they can't let them score at will either.
Ones to Watch
Ryan Kesler made a somewhat surprising return to the lineup on Monday but what wasn't surprising was the fact he made an impact right away.
After missing 19 straight games with a broken right foot, the 28-year-old made up for lost time in a hurry netting his second goal of the season – the game-winner no less – in Vancouver's 2-0 win over Phoenix. The adrenaline might not be pumping as much tonight as it was on Monday for his first game back but Kesler will want to continue being a positive force for his team and keep putting up points on the scoreboard.
Kesler has missed all four games in the season series against the Flames so far this year. In 48 career games versus Calgary, he has amassed 12 goals and 30 points.
The departures of Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary in recent weeks is a sign that the Flames are looking towards the future and one of the players that will likely be a big part of that future is defenseman TJ Brodie.
The 22-year-old, who was a fourth round pick of the Flames back in 2008, is in his second full season at the NHL level and will undoubtedly be given a bigger role to play in the final few games of the regular season particularly with the aforementioned Bouwmeester no longer around. Brodie had a reputation for being a point producer during his days in junior and is showing signs of being able to bring that part of his game to the NHL level. He has eight points (1-7-8) in 37 games played so far this season - six away from equaling his previous career high.
Brodie has seen an increase in his ice-time lately as he had over 22 minutes of ice-time in five consecutive games. His season average is 19:23 per game. Brodie is still in search of his first career points versus Vancouver having failed to get on the scoresheet in seven career games against the Canucks to date.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.