The fifth-seeded NHL Western Conference Vancouver Canucks will battle it out against the eighth-seeded Calgary Flames in an all-Canadian best-of-seven opening round playoff series. The Canucks finished the regular season with a record of 48-29-5 for 101 points while the Flames had a mark of 45-30-7 for 97 points and made the postseason on the second-last day of the season. Vancouver went 2-2 against Calgary this season and outscored them 9-8.
Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames betting preview – bet365 lists Vancouver as the favorites to win the series at 5/7 with the Flames at 6/5
The Canucks were the seventh-best scoring team in the league this season with a 2.76 goals per game average while the Flames were tied for sixth at 2.89. Defensively, Vancouver allowed 2.68 goals against per outing to rank 18th in the league while Calgary was 16th best at 2.60 goals against. The Canucks power play was ranked tied for eighth best in the NHL at 19.3 per cent while the Flames were 11th best at 18.8 per cent. As for the penalty-killing stats, Vancouver was the second best at 85.7 percent while Calgary’s 80.6 per cent ranked them at 20th.
This is the first time the Flames have made the postseason since 2008/09 and the last time they won a series was back in the 2003/04 campaign. The Flames went all the way to the final that year, but lost the Stanley Cup to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canucks are back in the playoffs after missing the boat last year following five straight seasons of making it. Vancouver hasn’t won a series since the 2010/11 term though when they went to the final only to be beaten at home in game seven by the Boston Bruins.
The last three times these two teams met in the postseason the winner went on to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. Vancouver edged Calgary in seven games back in the 1993/94 season and went on to lose to the New York Rangers in the final. When Calgary beat the Canucks in seven games in 2003/2004 they went on to drop the Cup Final to Tampa. In addition, the Flames beat the Canucks in 1988/89 and won the cup themselves. Calgary also eliminated the Canucks in the 1982/83 and 1983/84 postseasons. Every time these two clubs have met in the playoffs it has always been in the first round.
Both of these teams have never-say-die attitudes by earning plenty of points this season after falling behind in games. Calgary earned close to 25 per cent of their season’s points total after trailing at the end of the second period. They were a great third-period team as they scored over 40 per cent of their goals during the third stanza. They also reached the postseason without top defenseman and captain Mark Giordano with 21 games to go. At the time, Giordano was the league’s top-scoring defensemen after 61 games with 48 points. He’s expected back some time during the first round, but the team went 12-6-3 without him.
Vancouver lost starting goalie Ryan Miller in February when he already had 28 wins under his belt along with a goals-against average of 2.47, a save percentage of 91.3 and six shutouts. Eddie Lack filled in as the number one and went 13-7-2. However, Miller returned to the lineup and played in the Canucks’ final game of the season. It’s unclear who will start in the series-opener for Vancouver, but Jonas Hiller should get the call for Calgary as Karri Romo is suffering from an injury.
These teams faced off four times in the regular season with each of them winning once at home and once on the road. The Flames earned an extra point though since one of their losses came in overtime in December. Vancouver boasted 11 forwards who scored at least 10 goals this season with Henrik and Daniel Sedin leading the attack along with line mate Radim Vrbata. For Calgary, the line of Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and rookie Johnny Gaudreau combined for 202 points and scored 86 of the team’s 237 goals.