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The Vancouver Canucks have won three of their last four games.
The Calgary Flames are on a three-game losing streak.
The is the first of four meetings between these teams
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
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12-13-3 (6th in Pacific Division)
13-11-5 (5th in Pacific Division)
Elias Pettersson (34)
Elia Lindholm (23)
Nazem Kadri (11)
Quinn Hughes (25)
Rasmus Andersson (16)
Luke Schenn (7)
Nikita Zadorov (8)
Bo Horvat (3.32)
Shots (Per Game)
Tyler Toffoli (3.14)
The Vancouver Canucks will travel to Calgary to face the Flames. The Canucks are having a sub-par season and are four points out of a Wild Card spot. A win would inch them closer, but a loss would put them farther out of the Playoff picture. The Flames are in a slightly better position than the Canucks. Calgary has 31 points and is in the second Wild Card spot. However, they could fall out of the spot with a loss in regulation.
The Canucks do not have a great record but have an impressive offense. They average almost 3.5 goals a game. However, their mediocre records stem from poor defense and goaltending. Both of Vancouver’s goaltenders allow well over three goals, and their defensemen allow nearly 3.9 goals per game.
The Canucks are led by the center trio of Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and J.T. Miller. In addition, defenseman Quinn Hughes plays a large role. Elias Pettersson leads the team in points (34) and plays almost 20 minutes a game. Bo Horvat is a natural goal-scorer; his 20 goals are the fourth-most in the NHL. J.T. Miller is more of a jack of all trades and has 11 goals and 15 assists. Finally, we come to the lone defenseman in this group, Quinn Hughes. Hughes has not scored a goal this season (even though he has taken over 60 shots) but leads the team with 25 assists (eighth-most in the league).
The Canucks use the goaltending duo of Thatcher Demko and Spencer Martin. This may be the worst duo in the league; they both have save percentages under .900 and allow over 3.8 goals a game. Spencer Martin is the better of these two, but even he allows 3.45 goals per game.
The Flames are a little bit more well-rounded than the Canucks. Calgary’s offense is slower, but their defense is solid, and their goaltending is decent. They could use some offensive upgrades but have the better team on paper.
The Flames have a veteran squad led by Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri, and Rasmus Andersson. Elias Lindholm plays over 19 minutes a game and leads the team with 14 assists. Tyler Toffoli plays the least of this group (16:55) but still has ten goals and 11 assists. Nazem Kadri is the oldest of this group at 32 and has 11 goals and ten assists. Rasmus Andersson, a defenseman, is the youngest of this group but probably the most surprising player. Andersson is only 26 but plays well over 24 minutes a game and leads the Flames with 16 assists.
The Flames have the goaltending duo of Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar. Markstrom is the starter, but it is difficult to say who is better. Their save percentage are quite close to one another, and both netminders allow 2.81 goals per game.
Calgary is excellent at home and has superior goaltending, so they will win this game.
The Canucks have a battle on their hands but can win if they take intelligent shots and play tough defense.
The Canucks were shut out 3-0 in their previous game against the Minnesota Wild. They took 33 shots, and not one found the back of the net. Vancouver needs to continue shooting a lot, but they also need to take smarter shots.
The Canucks defensemen have been disappointing this season. They must surprise people today and make life hard for the Flames’ center and wingers.
The Flames are the favorites but will only win if they avoid committing penalties and shoot as much as possible.
The Flames have a poor power-play unit but are facing a Canucks squad with a top-ten unit. The Canucks convert over 27% of their opportunities. Calgary cannot let this unit get on the ice. If they do, they will limit Vancouver’s scoring.
Calgary will likely face an incompetent goaltender today. This means that some shots that would not go in against other goaltenders might find their way to the back of the net. The Flames should take advantage of this and shoot as much as possible. If they do, they can score an early goal and build a lead off a Canucks’ goaltender's mistake.
Quinn Hughes may be a defenseman, but he is largely responsible for much of the Canucks’ scoring. Hughes is constantly setting up his teammates. He should continue to do so in this game.
It is rare for me to pick two defensemen to be the key players, but today is different. Rasmus Andersson, like Quinn Hughes, is a gifted passer and has assisted on 16 of his team’s 85 goals.
Andersson must continue passing well in this game. Calgary does not have a high-powered offense like Vancouver but can exceed expectations if Andersson is constantly setting up his teammates.
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What - Minnesota Wild vs Calgary Flames
Where - Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
When - Wednesday, December 7, 10:00 PM EST
How to Watch - TNT
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