Canucks, Flames enter matchup with different narratives concerning their top line
CALGARY – The Vancouver Canucks (0-1) and Calgary Flames (0-1) both look to get into the win column for the first time in this season when the two Pacific Division rivals square off at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.
After a brief two-day team retreat in Banff, the Canucks look to bounce back from Wednesday’s 3-2 loss in Edmonton. Despite the outcome, the Canucks liked the 70 shot attempts they had and the fact they held the Oilers to just 22 shots on goal. Alex Edler and Tanner Pearson scored the Vancouver goals while Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves in net.
On his own, Pearson had 11 shots on goal – just two off the Canucks franchise record for shots in a single game. With his goal on Wednesday, Pearson has now scored 10 goals in 20 games in a Vancouver uniform since being acquired from Pittsburgh at last season’s trade deadline.
The Canucks will make one line-up change from Wednesday. Adam Gaudette, who led all Canucks forwards in preseason scoring with four goals and two assists, will make his season debut, while veteran Loui Eriksson will sit this one out. Gaudette will centre a line with Josh Leivo and Jake Virtanen while Brandon Sutter slides from the middle to right wing to skate with Jay Beagle and Tim Schaller. That leaves Loui Eriksson as a healthy scratch. The veteran winger was scratched once last season – March 13th – in Game 70 against the New York Rangers.
Former Flame Micheal Ferland returns to his old stomping grounds for just the second time in his career as a visitor. He played 250 games for the Flames and then returned to the Stampede City as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes last January. Ferland had two shots and a pair of hits in 17:36 in his Canuck debut in Edmonton.
Bo Horvat enters play two goals shy of 100 for his NHL career. Elias Pettersson scored his first NHL goal against Calgary and scored a pair in his first visit to the Saddledome. The Swede led the Canucks with four goals and five assists in five games against the Flames last season.
Calgary is back in action after a 5-3 loss in its season opener in Colorado on Thursday night. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had a goal and an assist while captain Mark Giordano had the other Flames goal on his 36th birthday. David Rittich stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced in goal.
The Gaudreau and Monahan goals both came on the power play as the Flames went 2-for-4 with the man-advantage on the night. While they scored a pair on the power play, they surrendered a pair as well killing off 4-of-6 short-handed opportunities.
The Canucks and Flames won’t see each other again until Dec. 29th when Vancouver returns to town. Calgary doesn’t make its first West Coast appearance until Feb. 8th. The Canucks won three of the five meetings between the teams last year with two of the victories requiring more than 60 minutes to settle things.
New Flame Milan Lucic needs two goals to reach 200 in the NHL.