The Flames Meet the Nuckers

VANCOUVER CANADA - JANUARY 22: Tim Jackman has intimidated the Canucks this year and has 3G and 1A in the previous games. He celebrates one of his goals against them here on January 22 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

 

Game Preview #58

This year, the Canucks have given their fans some reality to support their early Cup parade routes. This year, for the first time in a long time, they truly are Cup contenders in my view, although for some fans in Vancouver, that's the case every year. 

They were the only team to actually strengthen in the off-season while the Sharks, ‘Hawks weakened and the Red Wings got a year older. No matter how you look at the Canucks, they are favorites and have entered their Cup window this year. Their performance on the season has done nothing to change my mind from my pre-season analysis of them. 

The Flames though are in Pyromancer mode, coming off a bad loss to the Ducks but still holding a 8-0-2 record compared to the Canucks' 6-1-3 in the last ten. Six weeks ago Canucks fans were laughing at the Flames and banking on wins. I doubt if they still are. This is a pressure game for a well rested Canucks team, while the Flames are an underdog fighting for a playoff spot.

By the numbers goes to the Canucks by far, but the Flames could surprise; it will be an interesting game to watch. David and Goliath perhaps?

The Stat Rack

Flames

Rank

 

Rank

Canucks

16.7%

21st

PP%

1st

24.5%

82.2%

15th

PK%

4th

85.5%

2.86

18th

GA

2nd

2.29

2.79

13th

GF

2nd

3.34

48.4%

25th

FO%

1st  

55.5%

28.0

3rd

SA/G

18th

30.5

30.5

15th

SF/G

6th

32.5

Number Crunch

The Canucks dominate in all categories except shots allowed. They don’t just lead the Flames, they lead the league. Vancouver is in the top five in critical stats like PP, PK, goals against, goals for, and faceoff percentage. As I said, this team is top five in the league, not just the West. By the numbers, this game is a slam-dunk win for the Canucks.

Alive in the Last Five

Flames

Robyn Regehr – 1G 6A +1 in the last 5GP

Brendan Morrison – 1G 5A +3 in the last 5GP

Olli Jokinen – 2G 5A +1  in the last 5GP

Curtis Glencross – 4G 2A +1 in the last 5GP

Jarome Iginla – 1G 5A +4 in the last 5 GP

 

Canucks

Mikael Samuelsson - 4G 6A +2 in the last 5GP

Ryan Kesler – 5G 2A +5 in the last 5GP

Sedin 1 (Daniel) – 2G 6A +2 in the last 5GP

Sedin 2 (Henrick) – 1G 5A +# in the last 5GP

 

Anticipated Roster (subject to change by game time)

The Flames

The Ducks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bourque

Morrison

Iginla

D Sedin

H Sedin

Burrows

Glencross

Jokinen

Moss

Raymond

Kesler

Samuelsson

Hagman

Stajan

Jackman

Tambellini

Malhotra

Hansen

Kostopoulos

Backlund

Bouma

Torres

Glass

Oreskovich

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regehr

Bouwmeester

 

Salo

Ehrhoff

 

Giordano

Sarich

 

Alberts

Bieksa

 

Staios

Babchuk

 

Rome

Tanev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiprusoff

Karlsson

 

Luongo

Schneider

 

 

Anticipated Game Style

Kiprusoff is the key to this game for the Flames. The Flames’ defense can contain the Canucks if they all play the system but room for mistakes is miniscule. The Canucks will exploit any flaw presented in defensive positioning.

Sedin One and Sedin Two are the usual threats, but each were held to just a single point in the last game between these two teams. The primary Flames player who seems to be a 'Nuck killer this year is Tim Jackman, who likely scares the whole roster. He has 3G, 1A and is +1 against the Canucks this season.

 

One on One

Roberto Luongo vs Miikka Kiprusoff

This one is about the goaltending and the last line of defense for the Flames. There's no doubt that Kipper must have one of his stellar games. 

 

The Magic 8-Ball

The simple fact is that any team in the NHL that gets any points out of the Cancuks in a game this season should feel damn proud.

The fact is that if the Canucks lose, they should feel the shame--not the Flames. They are well rested, their #1 goalie has had a game off, they have several players who are recently scoring at a pace of over a point per game AND they have home ice. A hard fought effort is all I ask for from the Flames; a never-say-die game and 100% effort for three full periods and I am good.

This is a back to back for the Flames. A game they have to dig down deep for. The entire Canucks team is rested, including Luongo. If it stays close after two periods, watch the third carefully for Flames players who keep up the hard skating. Those are your players with heart. 

If the Canucks lose this game when they have everything going for them from a rested team to a rested goalie to home ice, it will be the moment in the season when I reevaluate them for Cup potential. 

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