VANCOUVER CANUCKS (7-11-1) vs CALGARY FLAMES (8-6-1)
SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME- CALGARY, AB
TV: SPORTSNET ONE, SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: MATCHSTICKS AND GASOLINE
While it’s natural to want to give the Canucks credit for playing better of late (and in all honesty, they probably deserved better results over the past week), the fact remains that the things that have bitten this team on their collective asses continue to chaw down, as mental errors, turnovers and untimely penalties cost them a game they should have won on Monday night.
Yes, it was good that they scored twice on the power play, and especially that Bo Horvat got off the schneid, but the losses are mounting and it’s made their road to the playoffs look like they’re trying to drive the team bus up a Nepalese goat path. Just a 7% chance of making the playoffs at the moment. I am not a scientician, but that seems pretty bad.
NHL projected standings and playoff chances as of February 17, updated daily at @TheAthleticNHL https://t.co/IUrGlQ1fxe pic.twitter.com/ZLMlO6FPFn— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) February 17, 2021
They’re not even likely to catch the team directly in front of them, according to this model, without some type of divine intervention. But let’s not worry about that. Mr. Aqualini has the utmost confidence in Jim Benning, so everything’s gonna be just fine.
And now the Canucks are back on the road for one night in Calgary, taking that awe-inspiring 2-8-0 road record into the Saddledome, where the Flames have already beaten them twice this season. Teams that win 20% of their road games are not good, I have been told. Even the Ottawa Senators have more road wins than the Vancouver Canucks right now and that should be a giant red flag to anyone still holding out hope that this is a playoff team.
Courtesy of nhl.com, this is probably what these teams will roll tonight:
Canucks projected lineup
J.T. Miller — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander
Antoine Roussel — Brandon Sutter — Adam Gaudette
Loui Eriksson — Jay Beagle — Jake Virtanen
Alexander Edler — Nate Schmidt
Quinn Hughes — Jordie Benn
Olli Juolevi — Tyler Myers
Scratched: Zack MacEwen, Jalen Chatfield, Jayce Hawryluk
Injured: Justin Bailey (upper body), Tyler Motte (undisclosed), Travis Hamonic (upper body), Micheal Ferland (head)
Flames projected lineup
Matthew Tkachuk — Elias Lindholm — Andrew Mangiapane
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Dominik Simon
Milan Lucic — Mikael Backlund — Dillon Dube
Joakim Nordstrom — Byron Froese — Sam Bennett
Noah Hanifin — Christopher Tanev
Mark Giordano — Juuso Valimaki
Nikita Nesterov — Rasmus Andersson
Scratched: Josh Leivo, Connor Mackey
Injured: Derek Ryan (hand)
The Flames should get Mikael Backlund in tonight after missing Monday’s contest, and Jacob Markstrom will start again, meaning his annual injury should arrive in around 3 weeks or so. The Canucks will probably go with Braden Holtby tonight, and if there were ever a time for a Canucks goaltender to pull a Markstrom and outright steal a game, this is it. If not, they can’t finish the month at a .500 record or better. No other changes for the Canucks tonight, but you have to think that another loss will see some kind of shuffle ahead of Friday’s visit from the Jets.
GAME DAY CHATTER
Coach Green discusses his lineup and the recent play of Olli Juolevi as Vancouver gets set to visit Calgary.#Canucks | @TheProvince pic.twitter.com/KtWh25PBUI— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 17, 2021
"I want to try and play a physical game, I'm a big enough guy to try and play that way." Olli Juolevi talks about his recent play and feeling more confident.#Canucks | @TheProvince pic.twitter.com/Q80e3vSkS0— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 17, 2021
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
It’s been a long week, so how about my favorite Irish band singing the praises of the greatest action movie star of all time? Alrighty. Enjoy the game. Or don’t. The pressure’s off from us, honestly. And if you haven’t seen Resident Alien yet, you should check it out. Might find it more fun than another loss.