Game Day: Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks
Keep your eyes on Stempniak and Edler
Calgary Flames (0-2-0) at Vancouver Canucks (0-1-1)
8 p.m., Rogers Arena
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: FAN 960
Keep Your Eye On
RW Lee Stempniak — Known as one of the streakiest chaps on the circuit, which right now is good news for the Flames. Hard-shooting winger has buried pucks in each of the first two matches.
* Cammalleri Backlund Iginla
* Glencross Tanguay Stempniak
* Baertschi Stajan Comeau
* Begin/Horak Jones Jackman
* Giordano Bouwmeester
* Brodie Wideman
* Smith Sarich
* D Anton Babchuk (shoulder), C Roman Cervenka (blood clot), RW Jiri Hudler (bereavement)
Keep Your Eye On
D Alex Edler — Big defender is freshly extended, six years for $30 million. Offensively, Edler is off to a fine start. With three points, he’s tied for the team lead in scoring with LW Daniel Sedin.
* D.Sedin H.Sedin Burrows
* Raymond Ebbett Zack Kassian
* Higgins Lapierre Hansen
* Volpatti Malhotra Weise
* Hamhuis Bieksa
* Garrison Edler
* Ballard Tanev
* C Ryan Kesler (shoulder, wrist), LW David Booth (groin)
5 THINGS TO WATCH
1. Deja Vu? — Last season, too, the Flames opened the regular-season with a pair of regulation-time losses. Everyone knows how that ended. Previous to that, the Flames’ most recent 0-2-0 start occurred in 2002-03, a sluggish opening bid which spelled the end of coach Greg Gilbert (who was sacked Dec. 3) and the arrival of Darryl Sutter (who was hired Dec. 28). The team’s record that season wound up being 29-36-17. The Calgarians haven’t started 0-3-0 since 2000-01.
2. Road Show — Tonight marks the Flames’ first foray into enemy territory. Last winter, they cobbled together a 14-17-10 record away from the Saddledome. Only four NHL clubs — Tampa Bay, Carolina, Anaheim, Columbus — collected fewer road wins. On a positive note, the Flames did beat the Canucks in Vancouver — 3-1 on Dec. 23, thanks to the sparkling netminding of rookie G Leland Irving, who collected his first big-league victory. C Mikael Backlund picked up the winning goal.
By the way, wearing A’s for road dates (in the season’s first half) are LW Michael Cammalleri and D Jay Bouwmeester.
3. Controversy? What Controversy — G Roberto Luongo appears to be on his way out of Vancouver. Except he’s still here, mopping up in the season-opening loss to the Anaheim Ducks and starting (and losing in a shootout) against the Edmonton Oilers. G Cory Schneider’s yanking in Game 1 leaves the heir apparent with an 11.11 goals-against average and an icky save percentage of .643. Enough to give a GM pause? Wrote Vancouver Province columnist Ed Willes: “This trade isn’t taking place in a vacuum. There are real costs associated with it, and waiting is a luxury the Canucks might not be able to afford. On a somewhat related subject, the Canucks’ less-than-inspired performance over the weekend revealed a black hole at centre ice.”
4. Brotherly Love (for Cowtown) — C Henrik and LW Daniel Sedin must enjoy their (always fruitful) encounters with the Flames. Daniel has generated 66 points against Calgary — he has had an easier time with no other squad. Henrik, meanwhile, had piled up 58 points, making the Flames his second favourite foe — against the Oilers, he’s rattled off 66 points.
5. Ins, Outs, What-Have-Yous — Vancouver is sending D Jim Vandermeer to AHL Chicago. In a related move, the team called up C Jordan Schroeder, who may skate in his first-ever NHL game this evening. The 22-year-old was a first-round pick in 2009, 22nd overall (the Flames, with the next shout, selected D Tim Erixon — remember him?) . . . Your Flames, by the way, have the third best power play in the league — 50.0 per cent (3-for-6). Less flattering, however, is their current slot on the faceoff charts. Yes, dead last — again, still — with a 41.0 success rate . . . RW Jarome Iginla will suit up for his 1,191st game today, tying him for 97th spot on the all-time charts with Gilbert Perreault, Radek Dvorak, Marc Bergevin.
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