Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Rogers Arena, Vancouver. BC
When: 7:00 PM PST
Where to watch: SN
Where to listen: Sportsnet650
Opposition Blog: Matchsticks And Gasoline
The Sedin Era is over. And tonight the Vancouver Canucks officially begin life without two of the greatest to ever don the (insert the myriad of uniform choices here). And with that, we begin a new era. One of players like Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat. And while much of the Canucks youth movement is still seasoning in Utica, the future is bright, friends. Believe this. The present day? Hang onto your butts, because this is gonna get ugly.
The Canucks have gotten younger, but that’s more because of the median age going down with the retirement of Daniel and Henrik than any additions. And while offensively they are a faster team, this defence still gives me night terrors. And it’s going to be tested big time by a Calgary team that’s a little different than Flames teams we’re accustomed to seeing. They’re younger, faster and are putting together a team that can go toe to toe with anyone in the Pacific Division (though I still think they need to improve their goaltending, as Mike Smith can’t possibly be the answer, right?).
Here’s the Canucks lines for tonight (via the Province)
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Brock Boeser
Nikolay Goldobin – Elias Pettersson – Loui Eriksson
Tyler Motte – Brandon Sutter – Jake Virtanen
Tim Schaller – Jay Beagle – Markus Granlund
Alex Edler – Chris Tanev
Michael Del Zotto – Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot – Erik Gudbranson
Starting goalie: Jacob Markstrom
Antoine Roussel (concussion)
Obviously a lot of attention will be focused on Lines 1 and 2, but it will be interesting to watch the 3rd line, with Tyler Motte and Jake Virtanen both needing to bring it on a consistent basis if they hope to stay in Vancouver and not end up getting shuttled down to Utica. I don’t even know what to tell you about that 4th line. I suppose if they end up not being a liability that should be looked at as a victory of sorts. And in an effort to try not to be so negative this season, I am going to say something nice about the defence. Here goes.
They’re healthy at the moment.
Jonny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm
Dillon Dube – Derek Ryan – James Neal
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett – Mark Jankowski – Austin Czarnik
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin – Travis Hamonic
Juuso Valimaki – Michael Stone
Starting goalie: Mike Smith
As you can see this is a much different Flames team, with a lot of new faces. The Flames did a fabulous job in the off-season, and have a nice blend of youth and experience, skill and grit that should give the Canucks (and other opponents) fits. As mentioned, 36 year old Mike Smith is a question mark and the Flames goaltending depth isn’t a strong suit, but the d-men in front of him should help.
This game will come down to the offensively challenged Canucks trying to convert on opportunities and hoping that Jacob Markstrom can hold down the fort with a porous d-core in front of him.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Irish thrashers Gama Bomb are set to unleash a new album on AFM Records ‘Speed Between The Lines’ October 12th, and have released a couple videos from it so far. I’m a big fan of their Exodus-inspired riff fests, and can’t wait to hear the entire album. Enjoy the game and make sure to swing by the game thread!