On the fourth and final game of their Canadian teams homestand, in which every NHL team west of Ontario has come to visit, the Vancouver Canucks will face off against the Calgary Flames.
The Flames have made some changes from the team that made the playoffs but got swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks. New to the team are steady defenceman Travis Hamonic, who came over from the New York Islanders, and 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who was given to us from a higher being.
The Flames also decided to do a reno on their goaltending like it was a stand-alone home in Dunbar, dropping incumbents Brian Elliot and Chad Johnson and bringing in Mike Smith to be the starter. The Flames also brought in former Canuck fan favourite Eddie Lack to play the backup role.
Here are some things to watch tonight, at what will most likely be the second-most entertaining event at a Vancouver hockey rink involving a visiting group with a name that alludes to arson.
Do the Flames go to Lack?
After getting blown out last night at home against Ottawa, Calgary will be hungry for redemption. Eddie Lack was probably slated to start the game anyway (teams almost always start the backup in back-to-back games), but it’s a virtual certainty that he goes now, after Smith coughed up five goals on 22 shots to the Senators.
Canucks coach Travis Green told reporters today that Alex Edler is out for four to six weeks with an MCL sprain, so recent trade acquisition Derrick Pouliot will draw in. Canucks fans will no doubt be anxious to see what the former highly touted prospect can do for Vancouver.
Burmistrov in, Virtanen out
After Green stapled Virtanen to the bench in the third period of Thursday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, it was clear that he wouldn’t be going tonight. The Canucks seem to be rotating the 13th forward every night, as Burmistrov sat out against the Jets after two solid contests. If Burmistrov has another good game tonight, he might not be in the press box again for awhile.
The Travelling Jagrs
The ubiquitous “Travelling Jagrs”—a group of fans that dresses up like the legend, with each one representing a different NHL stop Jagr has made in his storied career—will surely make their appearance known in Rogers Arena. And, looking at the attendance figures for the game against Winnipeg, they might be the only ones there.
A fired-up Flames team (yeah, that was bad, sorry) will be too much to handle for a Canucks squad missing a top-pairing defenceman. The Edler-Tanev pairing had really been the only duo that the team could count on, and now with Pouliot thrown into the fire (OK, that was better), it’s easy to see the speedy forwards on the Flames terrorizing the Canucks’ blueline.