Forward Brock Boeser went first in addressing the Vancouver Canucks preparation for the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
“There’s a lot of guys that we played with that are on that team that have been here in the past, but we faced them a lot last year, I think we all have a pretty good idea what they’re about,” Boeser said after practice on Wednesday. “They’ve got ‘Toff’ now (Tyler Toffoli), and even before Toff they’re such a good, hard working team, it shows with their win streak right now, and shows how good they are in this league and it’ll be a big challenge for us tomorrow.”
Toffoli played ten regular season games for the Canucks in 2019-’20 and then seven more games in the playoff bubble before suffering a lower body injury. He signed as a free agent with the Canadians that summer and helped the Habs reach the Stanley Cup Final last season. He joined the Flames in a deal ten days ago.
Boeser made reference to the other former Vancouver Canucks now with the Flames; players we made mention of in the Toffoli acquisition article:
Meanwhile, Toffoli rejoins former Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom, briefly his teammate, for a shot at the Stanley Cup. Right-shot defencemen, imagine that, Erik Gudbranson and Chris Tanev, are other prominent former Canucks playing for Calgary.
“If you watch their games they’re playing at the top of their level right now,” Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said, “I hope it’s the top of their game, they’ve been great. It’s a great challenge for us, it’s a great challenge for every team that they play but you either embrace the challenge or you’re afraid of it and hopefully we’re going to embrace the challenge.”
Boeser said he expects Tanev, who spent a decade along the blueline for the Canucks, to receive a warm welcome from the Rogers Arena crowd, as well as Markstrom, who spent five full seasons plus parts of two more with Vancouver.
“‘Tanny’ and ‘Marky’ had been here a long time, just to be able to come back, for the fans to be able to thank them, it’ll be pretty cool if they do a little something for them,” Boeser said. “They were a big part of this organization in the past, it would be a nice thing to do.”
The two teams met in Calgary on January 29th and the Flames prevailed over the Canucks 1-0 in overtime on a Johnny Gaudreau goal. It was the first win in Calgary’s current ten-game winning streak. The revenge factor is just one of the potential motivators for Vancouver heading into the game.
“I think we’re very aware of who we’re playing,” Bourdreau added, “I think the last game against Seattle was a real eye-opener type of thing, if we play solid we’re a good team, it’s when we get wishy-washy and we’re not playing as a group, we’re all over the place individually, then we become a problem. So that’s what we did this morning, we showed clips of say the Islander game and the Anaheim game and then games where we’ve been pretty successful and I think they (the Canucks) see a distinction in the two games.”
The Flames sit on top of the Pacific Division with 66 points, four ahead of the second place Vegas Golden Knights with two games in hand. The Canucks remain five points back of a playoff position with 54 points, chasing three teams that are tied at 59, the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles Kings.