Game 50: Canucks vs. Flames (1.18.14)
You wouldn't think a game against the woeful Flames would be one the Canucks have circled on their calendar but, considering their desperate need for anything positive to happen, a date with Calgary might be just what the doctor ordered. The Canucks, after all, are limping home following a disastrous three-game road swing that saw them not only lose all three games but also three players in the trip finale with Henrik Sedin, Mike Santorelli and David Booth all forced to leave in the third period of that 1-0 loss to the Coyotes with injuries. The Canucks will get one bit of good news on the injury front tonight, though, with Alex Burrows expected to return to the lineup after missing the last 20 games with a broken jaw.
The Flames also come into this game limping both in terms of their recent performance and on the injury front. They've lost back-to-back games, most recently dropping a 5-2 decision to the Jets on Thursday, and have just three wins in their last 16 outings dating back to December 15 (3-11-2). They're also currently without the likes of top forwards Mike Cammalleri, David Jones and Curtis Glencross, along with blue-liner Kris Russell. Tonight is the third of five meetings between the Canucks and Flames this season. Vancouver has won the first two meetings, most recently shutting Calgary out 2-0 back on December 29.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on CBC, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Score. You can't win games if you can't score and, lately, the Canucks are a team that can't score. It doesn't matter if it comes from the first line or the fourth line, on the power play or 5-on-5, but the Canucks simply have to figure out how to put that little piece of vulcanized rubber into the back of their opponent's net.
Burrows brings life. The Canucks may potentially be without three key forwards due to injury when puck drops on Saturday but they are expected to welcome back Burrows, who is often considered the emotional straw that stirs the Canucks' drink. If anyone is going to bring a spark to the team and lead by example, it’s going to be Burrows.
Power up. The Flames' power play has been pretty dismal all season long clicking at just 13.5 percent overall and going 0-for-4 in the season series. But given the Canucks' struggles on the PK – they've allowed seven power play goals on 17 times shorthanded over their last two games – this is an area the Flames could potentially take advantage of.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks all-time on Hockey Day in Canada (8-2-3). VAN beat CGY 5-1 last year on HDIC.
Flames named to Olympic team roster: Ladislav Smid (CZE) and Reto Berra (SUI).
Straight games without an even-strength goal for the Canucks.
Straight games the Flames have been held to two-or-fewer goals.
Combined goals scored by the Canucks against the Flames in two games this season: 3 from Santorelli, 2 from Hansen.
Consecutive playing time without a goal for the Canucks entering play tonight.