Game #39: Canucks at Flames Game Thread

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Following a lacklustre game against the Oilers, the Flames continue their home stand as they take on the Vancouver Canucks.

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Vancouver Canucks
@ Calgary Flames

Sunday, Dec 29, 2013, 5:30 PM MST
Scotiabank Saddledome

The Opposition: Nucks Misconduct

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: The Fan 960

Complete Coverage >



Tonight the Flames take on the Vancouver Canucks, a rival they haven't seen since just the third game of the season. That game was surprisingly evenly-matched, with both teams exchanging multi-goal leads before the Flames were able to tie the game with just 20 seconds left to send it to overtime. The Canucks ultimately won in OT, but the Flames were never truly out of it. This has been the overarching theme for Calgary all season, and hopefully it continues.

The big story for the Flames tonight centres around two European kids: Mikael Backlund and Markus Granlund. Backlund has been a revelation for the Flames as of late, effectively taking over the top centre position and thriving with it. However, he suffered an injury during the clash against the Oilers, and is a game time decision for tonight.

If Backlund goes, Granlund sits. But if Backlund is unable to play, the 20 year old Finn will make his NHL debut.

It's a very deserving call up, as Granlund currently has 13 goals and 24 points in 29 games with the Heat in his first North American season. Granlund had a goal in Abbotsford's 4-2 defeat of the Oklahoma City Barons last night.

As for the Canucks, tonight is their first game after the Christmas break. Vancouver is suffering a few key injuries in Alex Burrows, Alexander Edler, and Roberto Luongo. Still, they are fourth in the Pacific division, behind only the California teams, and are currently securely in a wildcard spot, so they will remain a tough opponent no matter what.

With Luongo injured, the Flames will see backup goalie Eddie Lack once again. Lack played his first NHL game and got his first win against Calgary at the start of the season. He had a .889 SV% in that game, but has since improved to a .928 SV% over 11 games.

Here are the projected lines:

Flames:

Cammalleri - Backlund - Byron

Galiardi - Stajan - Stempniak

Hudler - Colborne - Jones

Bouma - Monahan - McGrattan

Butler - Brodie

Smid - Giordano

Smith - O'Brien

Berra

Canucks:

D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Hansen

Higgins - Kesler - Santorelli

Booth - Richardson - Kassian

Sestito - Dalpe - Weise

Hamhuis - Tanev

Weber - Garrison

Alberts - Bieksa

Lack

Go Flames!

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