Calgary at Vancouver
When: 10:00 PM
ET, Saturday, February 18, 2017
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
The Calgary Flames begin a five-game road trip that takes them to the corners of the NHL map with a matchup against the desperate Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Calgary defeated Philadelphia 3-1 on Wednesday for its fifth victory in the last seven games and sits one point ahead of Los Angeles for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference after rookie Matthew Tkachuk recorded a goal and assist, giving him five points in the last four contests.
"I think at this point of the year if you're not going into every game knowing you have to win and playing that way, you're not going to make the playoffs," the 19-year-old Tkachuk told reporters Wednesday. "We have to do that." Vancouver lost its fifth straight game versus the Western Conference as Thursday's 4-3 setback in St. Louis - its seventh in the last nine contests - dropped the Canucks five points behind the Flames for the final wild-card spot. "I still think we're making a few too many mistakes to be able to get points and it has been costly on this road trip," Henrik Sedin told reporters after a 2-4-0 trek. The teams split the first four meetings of the season with the home team winning them all, including Calgary's 3-1 victory Jan. 7 in the last encounter.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC, Sportsnet
ABOUT THE FLAMES (29-26-3): Sean Monahan leads the team with 19 goals and his next score - provided it comes this season - makes him the youngest player in Flames history to reach 100. Mikael Backlund recorded a goal and four assists in his last five games to increase his club-high point total to 39 while Tkachuk boasts 25 assists and is second with 36 points. Brian Elliott (12-13-2, 2.79 goals-against average, .898 save percentage) won four of his last five starts and has a .925 SP in five February appearances.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (25-27-6): Bo Horvat (club-leading 18 goals, 39 points) returned to the lineup Thursday after missing one game with a foot injury as did Brandon Sutter (wrist), who has 15 goals and 27 points but is a minus-17. Henrik Sedin is a club-worst minus-19 while Daniel Sedin is minus-12 as the twins appear headed to record their first minus ratings since their rookie seasons of 2000-01. Markus Granlund (14 goals, minus-17) has two goals and three assists in the last six games.
1. The Flames also face Nashville (Tuesday), Tampa Bay (Thursday), Florida (Friday) and Carolina (Feb. 26) on the road trip.
2. Calgary is 14-4-3 in one-goal games, sharing the NHL's best record in such contests with St. Louis (14-2-5).
3. The Flames are 6-0-0 when playing with two days of rest this season.
PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Flames 2
Stats and Records