Game #40 Preview: Canucks @ Flames

Thomas Drance
April 10 2013 02:32PM


Photo Credit: The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

The Canucks are currently riding high in the saddle - they've won their last three games and have looked damn good doing it - and will kick off a five game roadtrip, their longest of the season, in Calgary tonight against the directionless suckhole franchise known as the Flames. 

Calgary were sellers at the trade deadline and have lost four of their last five - including a five-two loss to Vancouver this past weekend. They're in full on "hit the skids for Poppeye's kid" mode at the moment, and will be further short-handed tonight as Matt Stajan and Jiri Hudler will be out of the lineup per Brad Ziemer

The Flames are the worst and this should be an easy win for the Canucks. That is unless they take it too lightly and Kiprusoff stands on his head, in which case it could be a potential trap game. That's probably not how this contest will unfold though. Read more on the other side of the jump!

Broadcast Info:

Puck-drop: 6:30 PM PST

Radio: The Team

Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

Setup:

The Flames are going to be icing such a weak lineup on Wednesday night, that I'm not sure Alain Vigneault and Rick Bowness will even know how to deploy their shutdown pairing. I mean, which Calgary line is the most dangerous? I guess the one with Alex Tanguay and a couple of live-bodies but I mean really.

On the other hand, the Flames did legitimately control proceedings against the Canucks when the two teams last faced off this past weekend - even if the result was never seriously in doubt. I wouldn't blame the Canucks for taking this Flames squad lightly, I take them lightly too, but it would be nice to see the Canucks clamp down defensively, at least in comparison with the permissive effort they put in a couple of nights back.

As you probably know by now, Chris Higgins and Chris Tanev aren't with the team on their current five game roadtrip, which means that Keith Ballard and Andrew Alberts will compose the club's third-pairing and Dale Weise bumps up to the top-nine alongside Jannik Hansen and Derek Roy. Steve Pinizzotto took line-rushes as a defenseman at practice yesterday partnered with Cam Barker, so I take that as an indication that Tom Sestito will return to the lineup on the wing with Maxim Lapierre and Andrew Ebbett.

Even with a host of injuries to critical supporting players, the Canucks should win this game handily. If they don't, it'll be a failure not quite on par with the Flames themselves.

Numbers Game

Category Flames Canucks
Record 14-20-4 22-11-6
Goal Differential -32 +10
PP% 19.8% 13.4%
PK% 79.2% 82.7%
Fenwick Tied % 49% 54.5%
Corsi% 48.9% 52.7%
PDO 96.8 101.5

Game Day Links:

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Kent Wilson
April 10 2013, 02:38PM
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Some totally unfounded optimism over at FlamesNation

You go straight to hell!

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#2 BrudnySeaby
April 10 2013, 03:09PM
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They'd better win this one tonight. And the next game for that matter. Otherwise they should be ashamed of themselves. Plus, by winning these two they put themselves in a better position to win the Division. Would be a shame if they didn't. Really. Also, after that, the schedule get's a bit more difficult again.

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#3 van
April 10 2013, 05:42PM
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DUSTIN BUTLER

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#4 Lemming
April 10 2013, 06:15PM
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Really though, by the numbers, Calgary doesn't have that bad of a team. Their PDO stinks, and they're pretty close to even on Corsi and Fenwick. I see a lot of teams on your excellent game previews who have 45%-ish Corsi and Fenwick ratings.

And their PP is better than the Canucks. I really hope Kesler can help fix that.

Either way, obviously the Canucks should win this. I mean, really, down the stretch they play two playoffs teams in Anaheim and Detroit.

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#5 Cale
April 10 2013, 07:10PM
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FYI: Schneider's out with the flu; Lu starts tonight.

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