The Calgary Flames (13-11-5) are coming off a disappointing road trip as they welcome the Vancouver Canucks (12-13-3) to the Saddledome on Wednesday. But at least they got stellar goaltending from Jacob Markstrom, who looks to be back in Vezina form after strong showings in Columbus and Montreal.
Their first meeting of the season comes at a time when both are underachieving based on expectations. But in very different ways.
The Canucks are struggling defensively. Up front, they're top 10 in NHL scoring per game.
"It's pretty obvious. They've got at least five guys… that are on pace for, what, 35-50 goals?" Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said when asked what he likes about the Canucks on Wednesday morning. "I don't know if I like that."
Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks bench boss, was almost overly complimentary toward the Flames. Not looking to provide any bulletin board material.
Boudreau on Flames: "They're disciplined, smart, big, play physical and are really good in this building. I think of them more of the team last year (111 points) rather than mediocre at this stage. We have to bring our best game if we hope to compete against them." #Canucks
— Ben Kuzma 🇺🇦 (@benkuzma) December 14, 2022
The Flames took Tuesday off after closing an 0-2-1 three-game road trip with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
Elias LIndholm missed that contest with an upper-body injury but is expected to return, along withMacKenzie Weegar illness). However, Connor Mackey looks like he'll be in again with Chris Tanev out following his scary puck to the head against the Habs.
The Canucks had a three-game win streak snapped by a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at home this week, although goaltender Spencer Martin made 30 saves and only gave up a goal per period. He made 13 stops in the third period alone.
Their firepower makes them dangerous and the Flames will need to find more pop on the counter-attack to ensure they don't fall behind.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube – Nazem Kadri – Andrew Mangiapane
Adam Ruzicka – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Trevor Lewis – Radim Zohorna – Brett Ritchie
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Nikita Zadorov – MacKenzie Weegar
Connor Mackey – Michael Stone
Vancouver Canucks Projected Lineup