Preview: Canucks at Flames
The Calgary Flames ascended to the top of the Western Conference regular-season standings in 2018-19 due in large part to their dominant performance at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames look to rid the sour taste in their mouths after a season-opening loss with a bit of home cookin' on Saturday when they face off against the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Johnny Gaudreau collected a goal and an assist to record his 100th multi-point performance of his NHL career on Thursday, but Calgary began its season with the same result that ended its first-round series against Colorado -- with a loss. The 26-year-old joined Elias Lindholm in posting a three-point effort in the 2018-19 home opener for the Flames, who secured a 7-4 victory versus Vancouver on their way to notching a 26-10-5 mark at Scotiabank Saddledome. Elias Pettersson also had three points (two goals, assist) in that contest to set the tone for his Calder Trophy-winning campaign, but the 20-year-old Swede was held off the scoresheet in Wednesday's 3-2 loss at Edmonton as a sluggish start doomed the Canucks' opener of their 50th season. "I don't like the end result, but I thought the first eight to 10 minutes of the game was probably our worst, and then we got our feet under us," Vancouver coach Travis Green said.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver), CBC (Calgary)
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (0-1-0): Defenseman Alex Edler, who joined Tanner Pearson in scoring a goal in the season opener, torched the Flames in 2018-19 with a game-winning goal and four power-play assists in four games. The 33-year-old Swede led the team in ice time (25:40) against the Oilers, although Quinn Hughes -- the seventh overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft -- also logged significant minutes (23:07) and set up Pearson's go-ahead goal midway into the third period. "It's obviously good to get on the scoresheet, but I think there was a couple other plays I could have, you know, impacted the game by scoring too," the 19-year-old told The Province. "So, for me, I’ve just got to look forward to see what I can do better and move on to Calgary."
ABOUT THE FLAMES (0-1-0): Vancouver native Milan Lucic endeared himself to his new teammates when he lowered the boom on Colorado's Nikita Zadorov after the latter administered a hit from behind on Austin Czarnik. "When you play with that energy and emotion, and kind of have that spark, if gets you going. It gets the team going," the burly 6-foot-3, 231-pound Lucic said. "I lost a little bit of that in the last year and a half in Edmonton. Sometimes, that's all it takes - that one little moment. You get involved in a scrum and the next thing you know, that spark is lit and you're back again." An inspired Lucic will attempt to lead the Flames to their eight win in their last 11 home games against the Canucks.
1. Pearson unleashed a team-high 11 shots on goal in the season opener.
2. Gaudreau is riding a seven-game point streak dating to last season.
3. Vancouver G Jacob Markstrom sports a 5-7-0 record with a 3.42 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 12 career encounters against Calgary.
PREDICTION: Flames 4, Canucks 2