Juice getting some shap from the bench after scoring.
But he looks really pissed off about it. Meh – that’s Bieksa for ya!
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game Day Recon: Game #35 – Flames @ Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks get a bit of an early Christmas present tonight. If they earn a single point tonight, the Canucks will take over the Northwest Division lead, and will vault into 2nd place in the Western Conference, right behind their bitter rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. And the gift comes in the form of the Calgary, against whom the Canucks are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
TV: RSN-PAC Radio: Team1040
The Vancouver Canucks are 9-0-1 against the Flames in their last 10 meetings. The Canucks scored 4 goals or more in 6 of those 10 games. They’ve won by 2 goals or more in 7 of those 9 wins. 3 or those 9 wins saw the Canucks win by FOUR goals. So they aren’t just beating the Flames; they’re beating the Flames into a bloody pulp.
Roberto Luongo backstopped his team in 9 of those 10 games, going 8-0-1, allowing a mere 17 goals. And right now, Luongo is back in a serious groove. We’re talking about a "Miles Davis & John Coltrane collaboration" level of groove.
Tonight, Luongo faces a Flames team that is decimated by injuries and has been streaking all over the standings. They’ve won two games in a row, but have been the benefactor of playing Minnesota and Detroit, both on their second game of back-to-backs after facing the Canucks the night before. Before that, the Flames had lost 4 in a row, after winning 3 in a row. Up and down and up and down.
For the Flames, they’ve been getting some high-end production out of Iginla, Jokinen and Glencross of late. Which is a good thing, because half of Calgary’s D is on the IR so they need to score to win games. This also explains how they were able to beat Minnesota and Detroit. Both teams were playing the second half of back-to-back and flew from Vancouver the night before (and lost an hour in the time change). So their opponents were tired, had to fly late and had trouble putting in a full paced game. Good for the Flames.
But now the Flames are the ones playing in the second half of back-to-backs and had to travel late last night to get to Vancouver. And the Canucks are rolling. And the Canucks have beaten the Flames twice already, both times by a score of 5-1. And Luongo is playing strong. And the Sedins and Burrows are lighting it up. And Jannik Hansen will literally bowl over any goalie that gets in his way.
**NOTES** – Both Alex Edler and Keith Ballard will be game-time decisions, after both have seemingly recovered from recent injuries. However, while Edler will likely slot in, Ballard will probably be held out by AV, giving either Sulzer or Alberts the nod instead. Keith Ballard – OUCH.
Leland Irving will get the start tonight, in net for the Flames after Miikka Kiprusoff got the start last night at home against Detroit.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
- Skate like the Dickens. The Flames will be tired after playing Detroit in Calgary last night. The Canucks need to take advantage of a fatigued and very inexperienced Flames defence. Speed, speed, speed.
- Iginla, Jokinen, Glencross. In the last 4 games, these three players have scored 7 of their 9 goals. So… the Canucks might want to focus on them. Yeah, just do that.
- Find some motivation. This might be a tough one. It’s Christmas. You’re at home already. The Flames stink. After tonight you can be with your family for two full days. But a win tonight for the Canucks puts them into first place in the Northwest division, second place in the West, and top 4 in the league. Topping your division at Christmas is a GREAT milesone marker to hit and a significant indication that your team is back playing at the level where everyone expects.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
- Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
- Date with Blackhawks turned Canucks around (Vancouver Sun)
- Canucks can take division lead against Flames (CBC Sports)
- Canucks, Flames put winning streaks on the line in Vancouver (TSN)
- FGD: Christmas Wishing Flames Nation) <<< SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!