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Canucks game day: Quinn Hughes plays game 300 as Canucks face Flames in Calgary

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
3 months ago
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When Quinn Hughes steps onto Scotiabank Saddledome ice in Calgary tonight, the Vancouver Canucks captain will be appearing in his 300th National Hockey League regular season game. Incredibly, he will do so with a share of the overall NHL scoring lead. More incredible is the fact that he’s tied there with teammates Elias Pettersson and JT Miller and at 12-3-1 his team sits atop the NHL Western Conference standings.
In his first 299 games, Hughes has racked up points at a dizzying pace scoring his 32nd career goal in overtime last night while adding 235 assists for a total of 267 points. He’s done all of this at just 24 years and 33 days old. 
Hughes made his NHL debut against the Los Angeles Kings on March 28, 2019, playing 15:36 that night. He picked up his first point setting up Brock Boeser for a second period goal. And he, Boeser, and Elias Pettersson gave Canucks fans a glimpse of the franchise’s future when that trio took to the ice together in 3-on-3 overtime.
Since then, it’s been an all-out assault on the Canucks’ record books. 
Already, Hughes sits 30th in all time Canucks scoring, and he is sixth among all defencemen that have worn the jersey behind franchise greats Alex Edler, Mattias Ohlund, Jyrki Lumme, Dennis Kearns, and Doug Lidster. Hughes is closing quickly on Lidster and needs just 40 points to crack the top five. It’s not out of the question that he could reach second on that list by the end of this season, needing an additional 59 points to push his way past Ohlund.
With the winner and two assists last night, the Canucks captain became the first player in the league this season to record five three-point outings and established a new franchise mark for fewest games required to record 20 assists. He did it in his 16th game of the season, eclipsing by a game the mark set by Henrik Sedin in 2010-11. 
It’s truly become a case of what will Quinn Hughes do next? What can Quinn Hughes do next? The beauty of that question is that Canucks fans won’t have to wait long to find out as captain Quinn leads the Canucks into their first meeting of the season with the Flames tonight.
It won’t be easy with the Canucks not only playing on back to back nights, but they also lost an hour travelling east into the Mountain time zone. This will be the Canucks fourth game in six nights in four different cities.
The Canucks did not hold a morning skate so it may be closer to game time before Rick Tocchet’s line-up is revealed. Casey DeSmith is likely to get the call in goal, but there are a number of questions about the skaters available in front of him. 
Andrei Kuzmenko left last night’s game after being hit in the face by a JT Miller shot. Pius Suter did not play last night and the coach called him ‘day to day’ and said he was unsure of Suter’s availability for tonight. Mark Friedman left for an 11 minute stretch of the second period after taking a hard hit from Cal Clutterbuck. Friedman returned to action and finished the night, but logged just 9:49 on the night. It’s quite possible the Canucks will have to put in a call to the farm for at least one call-up for tonight’s game.
The Flames are coming off a 2-1 win in Montreal on Tuesday. They are 3-1-1 in their last five following six straight regulation losses. Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane lead the Flames with four goals while Nazem Kadri is their top scorer with just nine points (3+6). Much of the talk in Calgary is about Jonathan Huberdeau’s sluggish start to the season. The high-priced winger has 2+5=7 and is a team worst -13 through 15 games and has been dropped to Calgary’s third line.
Rookie Connor Zary has been a bright spot for the Flames scoring three goals and registering six points in his first six NHL games. The former Kamloops Blazer and 2020 first rounder had the first game-winner of his career in Montreal on Tuesday. 
Old friend Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal. Marky stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win against the Habs. While 3-6-1 with a 2.72 GAA and .905 save percentage on the season, Markstrom has had plenty of individual success against the Canucks going 10-3-2 with a 2.44 GAA, a .917 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.
For the fashion conscious fans, the Flames will wear their black Blasty alternate jersey for the first time tonight. All four of the meetings between these teams last season were decided by one goal with three games going to overtime and two settled in a shootout. Canucks went 2-1-1 while Flames were 2-0-2
In a scheduling quirk, the Canucks will be back in Calgary on December 2nd however the Flames don’t visit Vancouver until March 23rd and then again on April 16th.
Tonight’s referees: Dan O’Rourke and Furman South

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