Any excuse to show this goal. Thanks Pavel. And if you say "Joel Otto", you lose a finger. (AP Photo)
Game Day Recon #48 – Flames @ Canucks
Will the Flames be the cure for what ails the Canucks and their recent scoring woes?
Or will the Flames exact some revenge on the Canucks after two loses already this season?
Luckily, we’ll get the answers on the grand stage of Hockey Night in Canada tonight.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
Despite their recent sputters and lack of goal scoring, the Vancouver Canucks remain on top of the Western Conference. All the while the Calgary Flames continue to toil away at the bottom of the table. Sure they seem to be scoring more goals, but the Flames just can’t keep the puck out of the net. They are tied for third-worst in the conference in total goals against. In general, their goals-against stats put them somewhere around 21st in the league in goals-against per game, even-strength goals against and PPG against. Their biggest problem is 3rd period goals against, where they ranked 4th worst. For the Canucks, this is an open window of opportunity, as the Canucks are tied for 2nd in the league in goals-for in the final frame. So if the game is close going into the third period, look for Vancouver to open the floodgates against the Flames weak defending.
And the Flames woes start (but certainly don’t end) in net. Miikka Kiprusoff ranks 31st in GAA (2.84) and 34th in save percentage (.897). Kipper just hasn’t been himself this year. Granted he is not getting much help from in front of him, but he has looked very ordinary this season.
A look at the teams’ trends shows that the stats lean heavily in the Canucks favour. The Canucks are 5-1-1 after an OT/SO loss, where the Flames are 8-10-2 after a win. The Canucks are 14-7-1 with 1 day off, while the Flames are 3-4-1 on the second half of back-to-back games. The Canucks are 11-2-1 against the Northwest, while the Flames are 7-8-0, which includes the fact that the Canucks are 2-0-0 against the Flames already this season. Clearly there are a lot of reason to favour the Canucks tonight. But there is one big reason why this game will be a lot closer than their 2 previous games. The teams’ respective records over their last 10 games is almost identical. In their last 10 games, the Canucks are 5-2-3, while the Flames are 4-3-3.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. #windaturd. The Canucks need to do to the Flames what they couldn’t do to the Sharks in their last game. They need to pout it on in the third period and step on their opponents’ necks.
2. As always, leave Iggy alone. So far against the Canucks this year, Iggy has only 1 assist and is -3. The Canucks have not physically engaged him, have not riled him up and have played him to the perimeters for the most part.
3. Secondary scoring, please! Mason Raymond has 3g 2a in his two games against the Flames this year. He, along with MANY others, need to get their mojo back. Tonight’s game would be a perfect chance to do so.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Flames @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Shirokov: hero to practice extra; won’t play against Flames (White Towel @ The Province)
3. Canucks steady as she goes, winning or losing (Faceoff.com/Vancouver Sun)
4. Canucks/Flames Preview (CBS Sports/AP)
5. Flames Nation <<< See what the enemy has to say!