Preview: Vancouver at Calgary
When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, February 19, 2016
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
The Vancouver Canucks attempt to keep alive their fading playoff hopes when they take a brief pause from a lengthy stretch of home games to visit the Calgary Flames on Friday. Vancouver, which has a string of five straight at Rogers Arena after its contest in Alberta, is coming off a three-game homestand on which it dropped three 5-2 decisions.
The losing streak has left the Canucks eight points behind Colorado for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, with two other teams between them. Calgary also is on a three-game slide as it looks to salvage the finale of its three-game homestand. The Flames are even farther back in the playoff chase as they trail the Avalanche by 11 points. Calgary is 2-1-0 in the five-game season series with Vancouver, losing its lone home contest while winning two on the road.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver), Sportsnet West (Calgary)
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (22-23-12): Vancouver will be glad to get away from home, if even for just one game, as it has suffered six straight losses at Rogers Arena while winning its last two on the road. Daniel Sedin, who leads the team with 48 points, has recorded a goal and three assists over his last three games. Captain Henrik Sedin is riding a four-game point streak after being kept off the scoresheet in his previous five contests.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (25-28-3): Calgary already is without Dennis Wideman, who will miss the ninth contest of his 20-game suspension that was upheld by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday, and also could be missing fellow defenseman Ladislav Smid when it faces Vancouver. The 30-year-old Smid left Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota in the first period with an upper-body injury after seeing 5 minutes, 5 seconds of ice time. Blue-liner Kris Russell also is a question mark after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury.
1. The Flames are last in the league on the penalty kill (73.3 percent) and next-to-last on the power play (15.7 percent).
2. Vancouver LW Sven Baertschi, who was a first-round draft pick of Calgary in 2011, has scored a goal in three of his last five games.
3. Calgary LW Johnny Gaudreau, who leads the team in goals (22), assists (33) and points (55), has been kept off the scoresheet in three of his last seven games but has notched eight points in the other four contests.
PREDICTION: Flames 3, Canucks 2