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Game Day Preview: Canucks @ Calgary

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After a pretty frustrating loss to Detroit, they’re off to Calgary to take on the Jagr’d up Flames.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Does this look familiar? If you watched last night’s game, it should. It represents the Canucks approach to the game after tying it up in the 3rd period. This game was great, but not great like the win over Pittsburgh. It was great because it was a reminder that this team is still not where it needs to be, and this could well be the month that hammers this home. Elliotte Friedman often looks to Nov 1st as a high water mark if you will. Only 6 times over the past 12 years has a team 4 points out on this date been able to work their way into a playoff spot by season’s end. The Canucks play 2 teams looking to do that starting tonight in Calgary, and then Thursday in Anaheim.

THE OPPOSITION

The big news for the Flames is that they get Jaromir Jagr back in the lineup tonight. Calgary’s won 3 straight, including a 5-4 SO win over New Jersey Sunday night. Jagr’s been out of the lineup since Oct 21, and will line up with Mark Jankowski and 18 year-old Sam Bennett.

The good news (for the Flames, not so good for the Canucks) is that in order to make room for the ageless wonder to return to the lineup, they’d have to send someone to Stockton, and that someone would be Tanner Glass. Here’s the lineup we can expect to see tonight from the Flames:

FORWARDS

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Sam Bennett - Mark Jankowski - Jaromir Jagr

Kris Versteeg - Curtis Lazar - Troy Brouwer

DEFENCE

Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie - Michael Stone

Brett Kulak - Matt Bartkowski

GOALTENDER

Mike Smith

THE CANUCKS

Where to start? Well, from the much-lauded shut-down line of Derek Dorsett, Brandon Sutter and Markus Granlund looking like they couldn’t shut anything, to the continuing horror that is Erik Gudbranson on D, the Canucks were a bloody mess for the first two periods. And then after tying the game on a beautiful snipe from Michael Del Zotto (and don’t think this lets you off the hook for last night, MDZ. You stunk up the joint, bud) they appeared to pay tribute to the coach that Travis Green replaced, and went into full on WillieD-mode, playing for the tie. Yes, there should have been a tripping call on that winning goal, but the Canucks had no damn business even being in a tie at that point. As we’ve had hammered home for years it seems, the Canucks cannot play 20 minutes and expect to win.

We should see the return of Brendan Gaunce tonight, and they’ve also recalled Reid Boucher from Utica. This seemed a bit odd, leading to speculation they would announce an injury from last night. It was a little more complicated than that, and they Canucks have since announced that Granlund will sit tonight with an upper body injury, but Canucks Army’s Ryan Biech broke down the whole situation rather well.

It was really great a week ago, when the Canucks were looking legit. Now, they’re back to .500 hockey and struggling to score as they head into a set of 4 road games against Divisional opponents. They’re gonna be in trouble if they can’t rattle off 3 of these 4.

Here’s some reading for you heading into tonight’s game:

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Canadian thrash legends Annihilator are back with a new album ‘For The Demented’, and if you were lucky enough to catch them on their recent Canadian tour, they debuted a couple tracks during these shows. This one features some of the ‘Alice In Hell’-era ferocity and as always with Jeff Waters, tons of tasty thrash riffs.