The Canucks have taken four of the five matchups against the Flames.
The National Hockey League’s regular season concludes this weekend, and two Canadian teams face vastly different futures. Vancouver (53-19-4-5) is armed with the league’s best record, and has already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record.
Now the Canucks are gearing up for the postseason in an effort to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens.
Calgary (41-29-4-7) has been eliminated from the playoffs despite entering this contest with a +14 scoring differential on the season. The Flames have scored 248 goals this year, while yielding 234. CBC will provide coverage of Saturday’s contest beginning at 7:00 p.m. PT from Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome.
Vancouver snapped a two-game losing streak by blanking Minnesota Thursday as decided 235 home ‘chalk,’ 5-0. The combined five goals landed directly on the closing total, ending a string of eight consecutive ‘under’ outings.
Ryan Kesler recorded a hat trick in the victory, ending a scoring drought that saw him score just once in nine previous games. Mason Raymond also scored a pair of goals, while Daniel Sedin contributed with two assists. Kesler has reached the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career, while Sedin leads the league with 102 points.
Goaltender Roberto Luongo stonewalled 29 shots to record his fourth shutout of the season. Vancouver prevailed despite trailing the Wild in faceoffs won, 29-25, and shots on goal, 29-28.
Calgary is entering its season finale riding a three-game winning streak after skating past Edmonton Wednesday as a huge 290 home favorite, 6-1. The combined seven goals eclipsed the 5 ½-goal closing total, ending a string of back-to-back ‘under’ outings.
Jarome Iginla recorded a hat trick while also delivering an assist, but the Flames were eliminated from the postseason when Chicago and Anaheim both won their games. Alex Tanguay had a goal and two assists in the victory, while Rene Bouque and Curtis Glencross also scored.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff had 22 saves, while Mikael Backlund chipped in with three assists. Calgary finished the contest with sizeable advantages in faceoffs won, 34-23, and shots on goal, 47-23.
Vancouver is 4-1 against Calgary this season, and the Flames' lone victory occurred in a shootout. The Canucks prevailed Dec. 1 as a 127 road ‘chalk,’ 7-2, Jan. 5 as a 199 home favorite, 3-1, Feb. 12 as a 221 home ‘chalk,’ 4-2, and March 12 as a 121 road favorite, 4-3. Calgary upended the Canucks Jan. 22 as a 222 road underdog, 4-3. The ‘over’ is 5-1 the past six games in this series, and 18-6-5 the previous 29 meetings.
Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis (concussion) is ‘questionable’ versus the Flames, while left wing Raffi Torres (suspension) and center Rick Rypien (personal) are ‘out.’ Calgary right wing Niklas Hagman (concussion) is ‘questionable’ against the Canucks, while left wing Fredrik Modin (back) and left wing David Moss (ankle) are ‘out.’
Vancouver is 22-7 its last 29 road games, while the ‘under’ is 18-7-1 the past 26 games overall. Calgary has seen the ‘over’ go 8-1 its previous nine matchups against Northwest Division opponents, and the ‘over’ is 18-7-1 its past 26 outings overall.