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A Better Start & More Shots Are A Must In Vancouver Tonight

Calgary is in Vancouver tonight for game two of a three game series with the Canucks.

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks, 8 PM MT, Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC

TV: ESPN+, SN1, SNP - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames (7-6-1, 15 pts) - Vancouver Canucks (7-11-0, 14 pts)

NHL Standings

Only the Flames could lose a game, play so poorly in front of their goalie, have him stand on his head all night long, lose 3-1 and have his GAA drop and Save% go up. That in a nutshell is the nightmare that was Saturday night. In their 3-1 loss to the Canucks, Calgary was out shot 45-19, including an unthinkable first period where they generated only four shots to Vancouver’s 20. And that was with a PP in the first period!

Look, the Flames played one of the worst games I have even seen them play Saturday night and if this is a team that’s going to go places and make waves in the playoffs, they’ll need one hell of a bounce back performance tonight. Calgary looked uninspired, lethargic and all around bad....with Jacob Markstrom being the exception. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. The Vancouver cast off turned Flames MVP was as solid as you could be while facing a relentless Canucks attack during 60 minutes of play. Markstrom stopped 43 of the 45 shots that came his way and deserved a better outcome. At the time of this preview being written it’s assumed Markstrom will get the start tonight as you always want your best goalie in when you’re trying to get things straight. He also needs this start and to have the rest of his teammates play well in front of him because they, at minimum, owe him that.

Vancouver meanwhile must be brimming with confidence after snapping a six game losing streak and ending the Flames four game winning streak. The Canucks peppered the Flames with shots and stood the Flames up at almost every zone entry, making it impossible for the Flames to get anything going. And while the Canucks gifted the Flames three power plays, they were extremely effective in shutting Calgary down each and every time they had the man advantage. Now, with that said, I don’t have any access to Flames practice, but you’d think after the third time on one PP that the drop pass to Gaudreau to start the PP rush didn’t work, maybe you try something else?

As much as we want to dog the Flames for their garbage play on Saturday, you have to give the Canucks credit as they played the game at their pace and turned the Flames away at almost every opportunity. Thatcher Demko didn’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting and per usual, Calgary allowed an opponent to score first in a contest and not so surprisingly, they lost. Slow starts and a lack of shots will doom this Calgary team in again if they don’t pull it together and come out ready to play. Whether it’s the coach or players or a mix of both, something has to give because this team is too talented to be this inconsistent. As we always say, it’s a short season and losing games that you should win isn’t going to make climbing up the North Division standings any easier.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Markstrom (E): 7-4-1, 2.33 GAA, .925 SV%

Canucks: Holtby (E): 3-5-0, 3.75 GAA, .885 SV%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (8), Points- Gaudreau (15), PIM- Tkachuk (13), Save%- Markstrom (.925)

Canucks: Goals- Boeser (10), Points- Hughes (18), PIM: Myers (33). Save%- Demko (.898)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Vancouver Canucks Coverage: Nucks Misconduct

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 3 - Vancouver Canucks 1

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Johnny Gaudreau (F): 4 points in last 4 games

Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

Elias Pettersson (C): 4 points in last 5 games