VANCOUVER CANUCKS (12-13-3) vs CAALGARY FLAMES (13-11-5)
ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
TV: SPORTSNET, SN1 RADIO: SN650
I suppose if you’re looking for signs of a potential bounce back game for the Canucks, a team that’s been struggling like the Calgary Flames looks promising. Those of you who tend to look at things a little more pessimistically would point to tonight’s game being nationally televised and immediately see doom, though.
Eleven of the Canucks sixteen games lost thus far have come on nationally broadcast contests, to just 5 wins. It’s probably not something people are talking about, and maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it’s definitely on the nose for this team to come up flat on nights where the hockey world’s attention can be on them.
Saturday night was just a horrid game to watch, and Bruce Boudreau nailed it when he didn’t pull the goaltender in the third period with time running down.
#Canucks Boudreau: ‘I considered pulling the goalie, but I just didn’t feel like we were going to score’— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) December 11, 2022
With an opportunity to leapfrog the tired Wild blown, the Canucks will look to a Calgary team that’s dropped 3 straight, and will be without Chris Tanev, after the former Canuck took a slapshot to the back of the head Monday night against Montreal.
The Flames were pegged by many to be a contender this year, but they’ve struggled to put together any meaningful kind of run. Jacob Markstrom’s back to looking human again, and while the new additions Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weegar have been as advertised, it appears that proclamations of the Flames being better were premature at the very least. The Canucks have twice as many scorers who have eclipsed the 10 goal mark as the Flames thus far, and Ilya Mikhayev is one away from joining them in the double digit club this season. It’s left the Flames on the outside looking in, and
The following lineup predictions were found scribbled on a used napkin in the parking lot at Peters’ Drive In. Oh, and nhl.com, too.
Canucks projected lineup
Flames projected lineup
Injured: Chris Tanev (upper body)
Hoo boy, a lot to dissect here. Let’s start with the obvious: After a game like we saw on Saturday from the Canucks, you would expect a lineup shuffle of some sort as a reaction to a lacklustre performance. What you don’t expect is First Liner Curtis Lazar.
Boudreau on Lazar with Horvat, Miller: "Let the other guys do the work and he'll be in position defensively. It's also Laz hasn't scored in a while (15 games) and putting him with players who can, hopefully he bounces one in and gets more confidence in his game." #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) December 14, 2022
This is all well and fine, but Curtis Lazar wasn’t brought here to score goals, and it’s far from the most glaring issue facing this team at the moment. Bump him to the third line, and get Boeser up there, who is a far bigger priority in terms of getting them going. The good news is that they must have anticipated the new Nucks Misconduct Round Table, because Riley Stillman will be ensuring that chair up in the press box doesn’t suddenly fly to the heavens, and Kyle Burroughs is back in. Thank dog.
As far as the Flames, it is worth noting that Milan Lucic is again a healthy scratch, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if this is end of the road for him. Not shedding any tears for him, mind you.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"Be strong on the puck, fight to get inside, bring that compete all over the ice...playing with two highly offensive guys, and if I can get open and win some puck battles, I could get some looks."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 14, 2022
️ Curtis Lazar on playing with Miller and Horvat tonight@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/1GE9255qQu
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Having trouble getting into the holiday spirit? Grab a beverage and crank up a little TWISTED SISTER with this Xmas classic.
Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go!