Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Scenes from morning skate: Nikita Zadorov to debut on giant pairing with Tyler Myers when Canucks face Flames
2 months ago
Nikita Zadorov debuts for his new team against the club that dealt him away just two days ago when the Vancouver Canucks (15-8-1) face the Calgary Flames (10-10-3) at Scotiabank Saddledome tonight.
It’s a battle of two Pacific Division rivals trending in opposite directions with the Canucks having lost five of eight while the Flames are 6-2-1 in their last nine. That includes a 5-2 Flames home ice win over the Canucks on November 16th in Calgary.
What we saw
Zadorov hit the ice for the first time with his new team as the Canucks held a full morning skate in Calgary. It looks like he will start on the left side on a giant pairing with Tyler Myers. At 6’*8″ Myers is listed as the tallest player in the NHL while Zadorov stands 6’6″. The big Russian has 1+5=6 in 21 games this season. He also has 41 hits and 19 blocked shots while averaging 18:24 of ice time per game.
With Zadorov in the line-up, the Canucks have re-assigned veteran blueliner Matt Irwin to Abbotsford.
Based on the morning skate, it appears Thatcher Demko will get the start in goal tonight.
The Canucks were outclassed by the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 in their last game on Thursday night. Andrei Kuzmenko snapped a 10-game drought with the team’s lone goal. In that game, the Canucks surrendered a season-high 44 shots on goal. Rick Tocchet’s club has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games.
Part of the recent skid has been a porous penalty kill which has given up a goal in three straight games and five of the last six. In that span, the PK is 13/18 (72.2%). On the season, the Canucks penalty kill has dropped to 22nd in the league at 76.0%.
While he was the NHL’s third star of the month for November, for just the second time all season, Quinn Hughes has gone back to back games without a point. He was also held off the scoresheet in games in Philadelphia and Tampa Bay in the second week of the season.
Brock Boeser has scored four of the team’s last six goals. Boeser leads the NHL in both goals (17) and power play goals (8). He has as many power play goals himself as the Flames do as a team this season.
Pius Suter will miss his 10th straight game tonight. He has not played since November 12th in Montreal. In 25 games this season, the Canucks have had both Suter and Teddy Blueger in the line-up just once in that game against the Canadiens.
The Flames return to action following a 4-3 OT win over Dallas on Thursday. Nazem Kardi scored the overtime winner while the Flames also got goals from three defencemen: Chris Tanev, Mackenzie Weegar and Noah Hanafin. Tanev’s goal was his first of the season and first in 52 games since January 14th.
Now into December, Weegar has a share of the team goal-scoring lead with Blake Coleman. Both have six goals on the season.Kadri, Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau share the team lead in scoring with 15 points apiece.
No Flame has more than one power play goal or three power play points this season.The team’s power play is operating at just 11% overall and at home it has struggled at 7.4% with two goals in 27 attempts.
Former Canuck Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal and is closing in on 200 career NHL victories. He can’t get there tonight, but he can get within one of that milestone as he enters the night with 198 wins to his credit.
The Flames are hosting their Indigenous Celebration Night tonight. As they did the last time they faced the Canucks, the Flames will be wearing their black alternate jerseys tonight.
Elias Lindholm is celebrating his 29th birthday today.
Flames are 3-0 in games decided in sudden death OT, but 0-3 in games requiring a shootout.
Tonight’s referees are Peter MacDougall and Chris Rooney
What we heard
Rick Tocchet on Zadorov-Myers pairing: “They’re good in the corners. Net front. They can box out. We still want them to join the rush. But that’s two big guys. That a big reach. That’s a pain in the ass to play against and that’s what we want those guys to be.”
Tocchet on surging Flames: “They’re one of the better teams I’ve seen in the last eight, nine games. They’re playing fast, they’re connected and they’ve got a lot of confidence. It’s a dangerous team. We have to have that same mentality. They’re a desperate team and we’ve got to play desperate.”
Nikita Zadorov on what excites him about joining the Canucks (per canucks.com): “It’s a good young team, hungry, playing great hockey this year. I’ve heard only good things about the coaching staff. So I’m pretty excited about everything. I love being in the city of Vancouver when I’m on the road, now it’s my home city. So that’s pretty cool as well.
Recent articles from Jeff Paterson