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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks 1/16/21 (2/56): How About NOT Blowing a Two Goal Lead Today

The Flames will meet Vancouver for the first of 10 regular season meetings tonight.

Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks, 8 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: NHLN, CBC, SN, TVAS2 - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames (0-0-1, 1 pt) - Vancouver Canucks (1-1-0, 2 pts)

“We need to be better.” That’s an actual headline from a story quoting Flames HC Geoff Ward about what the Flames need to do to beat the Canucks Saturday night. Sigh. Yes, the Flames need to be “better,” but they need to not back off and settle as well.

Calgary blew the doors off of the Winnipeg Jets in the first period Thursday night, scoring three times and pinning Connor Hellebuyck against the ropes. After that? Crickets. Calgary let a far less talented (if only on paper) Jets team right back into the game, coughing up that 3-1 lead and losing in overtime. The point for the effort was nice, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to correct what went wrong against Winnipeg.

The new look lines, for the most part worked well, but the effort wasn’t consistent throughout. Prime examples were the Flames top players who all had fabulous first periods. Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau all had goals and looked unstoppable. The team had 13 shots in that period alone, but only 13 in the final two periods and none in overtime and the stars were invisible. Calgary also took four really bad penalties and gave up a key power play goal during one of them. In the end “smarter” may be a better word to use for how the Flames need to play tonight against Vancouver.

The Canucks drew the short straw, having to open back to back with the Edmonton Oilers. They split the games, but were roughed up in a 5-2 loss on Thursday night. The good new for Canucks fans is Braden Holtby didn’t take the loss. The bad news for Flames fans is Braden Holtby didn’t take the loss. He was Vancouver’s major addition this off season, which was in direct response to Jacob Markstrom switching provinces and coming to Calgary. Speaking of switching teams, Travis Hamonic received a PTO from the Canucks and stuck around so he will be playing his first game against his former teammates in Calgary. He has two points in his first two games with Vancouver.

These two will face each other 10 times this season and could end up battling each other for a playoff spot. Only one point separated them last season and with the increased games this already exciting rivalry could go to another level. But for tonight’s purposes the Flames need to score early and often like they did against the Jets, but also not let up and keeping pushing. The Flames don’t need to score 10 goals to win, but constant pressure and keeping the other team on their heels is going to be a key to them coming away with a “W” tonight. The Flames are 159-127-33 all time against Vancouver and are 4-4-0 in their last 8 meetings with the Canucks.

NHL Standings

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Markstrom (C): 0-0-1, 3.93 GAA, .882 Save%

Canucks: Holtby (E): 1-0-0, 3.00, .903%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Lindholm (1), Points- Lindholm (2), PIM- Lindholm (2), Save%- Markstrom (.882)

Canucks: Goals- Boeser (2), Points- Hughes (3), PIM- Roussel (10), Save%- Holtby (.903)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Vancouver Canucks Coverage: Nucks Misconduct

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 3 - Winnipeg Jets 4 (OT)

Vancouver Canucks 2 - Edmonton Oilers 5

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Elias Lindholm (C): 3 points in the Flames opening night loss to Winnipeg

Vancouver Canucks

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn Hughes (D): 3 assists in two games and leads Vancouver in points