It's a magical day today, friends: CBC's Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, with coverage starting at 10:00 Mountain time. We'll be treated to a full slate of games, beginning at 12:00 Mountain with Jets/Oilers for those out West or Rangers/Senators in the East. Following the split broadcast we'll all get Habs/Leafs at 4:30, and then a good old Flames/Canucks tilt for the late game at 8:00.
Calgary and Vancouver have met up twice this season and the Canucks have won both. Their first matchup was the Flames's third game of the season on October 6th, and they managed to take it to overtime before Mike Santorelli scored for Vancouver and the Canucks won 5-4.
The other was December 29th, in the midst of the Flames' long goalless drought, and Calgary lost that one 2-0 on goals by Santorelli and Jannik Hansen.
What to expect
The Canucks are just coming back from a fairly disastrous three-game road trip, which saw them lose two 1-0 games against the Kings and Coyotes and get absolutely pounded by the Ducks 9-1. (The Canucks' twitter account was especially fantastic that night.) They'll be looking to snap that dismal streak and generate a lot of offense.
Calgary's last few games have been pretty up and down: a 5-2 loss against Winnipeg, 4-2 loss against Nashville, a 2-0 win over Carolina. They looked like a completely different team against the Canes than they did against the Jets, controlling the puck and driving the offense a lot more in the first. They're going to need to be that team against the Canucks again today.
Vancouver's power play is not great—they're ranked at 24th in the league, a few spots ahead of Calgary, at just under 15%. In a game among rivals it's not likely that Calgary will be able to avoid taking a lot of penalties, so the PK is going to have to be a big part of their game. On the other hand, though, Calgary's power play is even worse at 13.5%, so they'll have an uphill battle against the Canucks' penalty kill, sitting at third best in the NHL.
Karri Ramo will start tonight for Calgary. He picked up his first career NHL shutout against the Canes and took the loss in Nashville.
Kris Russell skated with the team for the first time in a long time yesterday—he won't be back tonight but we might see him soon. David Jones and Curtis Glencross are still out, and Mike Cammalleri's concussion is sidelining him for a bit longer. Blair Jones has been cleared to play tonight and was paired with Derek Smith at practice.
For the Canucks, their most significant loss is that of Roberto Luongo, out with an ankle injury. They'll also be missing David Booth, Andrew Alberts and Ryan Stanton. Henrik Sedin got a slash in the ribs during the Canucks' last game but is likely to be back tonight, and Alex Burrows will return to the ice for his first game back since he sustained a broken jaw.
Tonight will be Jiri Hudler's 500th career NHL game! Give us this day our hat trick, hockey gods.
8:00 PM Mountain/10:00 PM Eastern on CBC. Dan Hamhuis is on After Hours today.