2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames - Round 1 Preview

Rhys Jessop
April 14 2015 04:06PM


This post is part of the Nation Network's Playoff Preview series, running this week at NHLNumbers. For more of our series previews and projections, head over to NHLNumbers.com.

Ah, it sure is good to be back. It's been a year since the Vancouver Canucks were last in the playoffs, but for Calgary, it has been much longer than that - this season puts an end to a streak of five consecutive on the outside looking in come mid-April. And with Vancouver having the most successful period of their (admittedly pretty sad and depressing) franchise history over that same time span, the once red-hot Canucks-Flames rivalry has kind of fizzled to just a spark of what it once was.

The two teams now get a chance to rekindle this rivalry in their first playoff meeting since 2003-2004. How can we expect this series to shake down, and who's going to come out on top? Find out on the other side of the jump.

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Here Comes The Nation Draft Playoff Pool!

Justin Fisher
April 14 2015 11:31AM

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Weeks ago, Toronto Maple Leafs fans gave up on the idea that they'd get to enjoy any type of playoff success this season. Well, Leafs fans are silly people, they should've given up on that in October! 

In all seriousness even sad sack Toronto sports fans can get in on the playoff fun this year with the Nations Draft Playoff Pool. It's way better than the actual real playoffs, and you can enter here at www.nationdrafts.com.

Read on for more details!

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How Vancouver's Team Defense Could Be a Problem

Rhys Jessop
April 14 2015 09:00AM

Margins of victory are pretty slim in the NHL these days, and there's not a whole lot separating the good teams from the bad anymore. Regular season games are most often decided by a single goal, parity is no longer a concept so much as a rule, and the race for Stanley Cup is wide open.

We know that to win in the playoffs, you usually have to be a really good team - not just by record, but by the underlying metrics as well. You've heard the old adage "defense wins championships"? Well it's true, the marginal value of one shot prevented is greater than the marginal value of one shot generated. Defense really is the name of the game.

So how does Vancouver's team defense stack up to the rest of the teams in the NHL? Are they good at keeping the puck out of their own zone? Do their systems limit scoring chances against?

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Willie Desjardins won't reveal Game 1 starter: 'I think both guys are capable of starting and playing well'

Thomas Drance
April 13 2015 04:48PM

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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

There's no real suspense about who will start Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in the Vancouver Canucks' net. It'll be Eddie Lack, who recently ditched Twitter to focus on the task at hand.

Ryan Miller isn't talking like he's a healthy player, and he isn't looking much like a healthy player. Miller, 34, has appeared in one game since sustaining a right knee sprain in late February, and he was shaky - though he improved as the game went on - in a 6-5 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins wasn't disclosing his starter on Monday, but this is a slam dunk. Lack's been on a solid run, and Miller isn't up to speed yet. 

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Brad Richardson is getting closer, could play in Game 1

Thomas Drance
April 13 2015 03:51PM

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Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks penalty kill has missed Brad Richardson enormously during his lengthy convalescence from a foot injury that he sustained in mid-January. It would seem that Richardson is close to returning though, as he took part and was a full participant in the club's practice on Monday at Rogers Arena.

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