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Hockey, Sports

Canucks go for 7 straight wins and sweep of Flames

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Clay Imoo Jan 07, 2017 3:08 am 583

The Vancouver Canucks take on the Flames in Calgary on the back-end of a home-and-home series the night after beating them 4-2 in a game they didn’t deserve to win.

They were out-shot. Out-chanced. Out-hit. And out-skated.

Thankfully, they had Ryan Miller in net and not Brian Elliott. And in winning their sixth consecutive the game, the Canucks climbed above the playoff bar…at least for one night.

I was at the game, armed with my sign just in case Horvat scored.

Sadly, he didn’t get a goal and I didn’t get my fish. Oh well, at least the Canucks won.

See also

Matchup

Vancouver Canucks (20-18-3, 43 points) vs Calgary Flames (21-18-2, 44 points)

Venue: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary

Time: 7 pm PT

TV: CBC, Sportsnet

Radio: TSN 1040

By the numbers

  Canucks Flames
Goals for 2.44 (22nd) 2.66 (17th)
Goals against 2.85 (21st) 2.80 (20th)
Power play % 14.4 (27th) 20.9 (10th)
Penalty kill % 80.2 (21st) 81.3 (17th)
Shots for 27.4 (30th) 28.9 (22nd)
Shots against 30.8 (21st) 28.3 (7th)
Faceoff % 52.5 (5th) 49.4 (17th)

Lineup

Chris Tanev left Friday’s game early with an injury, and will not play tonight. Alex Biega will draw in.

As well, we’ll await word on Alex Burrows, who missed last night’s game with an illness. If he returns, Anton Rodin is likely to sit.

Given that Ryan Miller played last night, look for Jacob Markstrom to start in goal.

We won’t know the lines until the pre-game skate, so here’s an educated guess:

D. Sedin H. Sedin Megna
Baertschi Horvat Burrows
Granlund Sutter Eriksson
Gaunce Chaput Skille
Edler Stecher
Sbisa Biega
Hutton Tryamkin
Markstrom

What you need to know

1. Move over, Megna

I’m sure that Jayson Megna is a nice guy. He’s also a decent hockey player; after all he’s in the NHL.

However, that doesn’t mean that he should stay with the Sedins on the top line. In the six games since Megna joined the Sedins (due to Jannik Hansen’s injury), Henrik has four points, Daniel has just one point, and Megna has one point. That’s six points in six games – between the three of them. That’s simply not enough production from your so-called first line.

Right now, Megna is simply ill-equipped to play with the Sedins. His decision-making isn’t quick enough, and it manifests itself in the way he has trouble finding open ice or making crisp passes. The trio doesn’t look dangerous either off the rush or once they’ve gained the zone.

If Burrows is healthy enough to play, put him back with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi and I would eventually try Anton Rodin with the Sedins. Rodin had his best game of the season last night (according to Willie Desjardins), so why not try him with his fellow Swedes?

2. On the road again

Compare the Canucks’ home and away records and you have the tale of two teams. At home, the Canucks are an impressive 15-6-2. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins have more home wins (17) and there are only five other teams with 15 wins: Columbus, Chicago, Montreal, Washington, and St. Louis. All these teams are in the top 11 in the NHL’s overall standings, while the Canucks are 17th.

Why? Because of their road record.

The Canucks are an abysmal 5-12-1 away from Rogers Arena. Only the New York Islanders have fewer road victories (four), and only two other teams have five road wins: Dallas and Arizona. It’s not elite company to be sure.

Six of their 13 road losses came during their nine-game losing streak last Fall. Since then, the Canucks have five wins and seven losses. Not bad, but not great.

The club’s next three games are on the road and they are all winnable (Flames, Predators, Flyers).

3. Familiar foes

Last night we witnessed both the Flames’ dominance and Brian Elliott’s futility. Given it’s a back-to-back with travel in between, look for both “back-ups” to start in goal tonight.

As the shots piled up for Calgary, you couldn’t help but notice how easily they were able to work themselves into the slot for prime scoring chances. Part of that may had been because of Chris Tanev’s early exit in the first period. Regardless, the Canucks won’t be able to rely on that bend-but-don’t-break philosophy every game. Still, they were happy with the win as you can see.

In the other dressing room, head coach Glen Gulutzan was happy with his club’s performance, and thinks his team will be successful if they play a similar style.

As an aside, just watch how aggressive and chippy Matthew Tkachuk is. He’s always whacking and slashing opposing players; he’ll be a thorn in the Canucks’ side for years to come.

Prediction

The Canucks can overtake the Flames with a win in regulation. They are hungry to have a better performance. And to keep their league-leading win streak going.

I think the shot totals will be closer, as will the score. Vancouver will win 3-2 with Horvat, Eriksson, and Granlund scoring the goals.


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Clay Imoo
I'm a Canucks season ticket member and I'm a creator of Canucks parody songs and haiku. I've also played the organ at a Canucks game. My son has caddied for Bo Horvat. More importantly I'm a husband and a father.

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