The Vancouver Canucks can’t play on Thursday against the Calgary Flames like they did on Monday against the Seattle Kraken and expect to win.
Where the Flames are hot, the Kraken are not.
Pick a pun, any pun. While the Canucks look to avoid getting burned by an NHL team that’s won ten games in a row, here’s a list of things they can’t do.
They can’t make multiple cross-ice break-out passes that are four feet behind the intended target. They’ll get scorched on the counter-attack.
They can’t make blind drop passes in the neutral zone or even in the offensive zone on the power play. They’ll ignite the Flames break-out.
The power play can’t suck, although the Canucks will be up against it with Calgary having the NHL’s 3rd best penalty kill at a glowing 85.6%.
The Canucks shouldn’t worry about their penalty kill because as grandma used to say, or maybe it was Ben Franklin, prevention is the best medicine. Stay out of the %$&#@ box! Take dumb penalties, get smoked. It’s the Flames, remember.
In other words, just play five-on-five. Or get seared.
21.8% on the power play is only 11th best in the NHL at the moment, but the Flames haven’t lost a game in the month of February. They’re supremely confident and with only two games remaining for them in the month, sweeping February is now probably a goal of theirs. Why wouldn’t it be? Son en fuego.
And no whining or playing mopey, even if you haven’t scored in awhile. Hit somebody. When your mitts aren’t working, move your feet and out-work ’em.
You’re welcome. I’ll send an invoice.
All that said, there are some distinctive motivating factors working in favour of the Vancouver Canucks to avoid getting singed.
Revenge on two levels: Making up for that %$&#@ performance against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night in a ‘regular season playoff game’, by playing a sixty-minute game against an even better team in another ‘regular season playoff game’. Clearly an opportunity for Vancouver to right that wrong.
The other revenge comes with a little bonus — you lost to your former goalie, the Flames Jacob Markstrom, with you current goalie Thatcher Demko, back on January 29th 1-0 in overtime. Get it back, and win one for the ‘Gipper’, I mean the ‘Demmer’, as he’s saved your ass all season. Plus you just hung him out to dry when you got fricasseed by the Ducks.
(pssst. does he seem a little tired?)
The Flames have a goal differential that’s aglow, tied for third best in the NHL at plus-55. That’s all the analytics you need in this case, other than a piping hot overall record of 30-13-and-6 and a sizzling road record of 16-9-and-2.
They’re top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk is an inferno. They have 41 points between them during the win streak. Have some fun with that, Juho Lammikko, Tyler Motte and Matthew Highmore or Bo Horvat and whoever. Go nuts.
Oh, and throw in the fact that Calgary added recent-former Canuck Tyler Toffoli to the Flames scoring line-up eight days ago. More fuel, I say.
It’s an opportunity for the Vancouver Canucks to make a statement Thursday night at Rogers Arena.
By the way, that Flames win against the Canucks on January 29th … it started the winning streak. The Canucks have a chance to end it.