With the Canucks coming off an opening night dousing of the Flames one would have to imagine that things aren't going to be the same this evening. Vancouver heads to Calgary with a boat load of confidence coming off the 6-0-1 pre-season and Thursday's 6-0 pummelling.
For starters this is a fiece rivalry in the NHL and one where you must surely respect your opponent. The Flames have been riding the success of thier 2004 playoff run and created an image around the NHL that indicates that they are a force to be reckond with. With that said it seems the Flames top-end were the downfall in Thursday's loss.
Miika Kiprusoff did have some rather suspect rebound control last time out but if you review some of the goals, defensive zone coverage may be something that should carry some fault. Dion Phaneuf has been awful in both the pre-season and the season opener; Cory Sarich simply seems to be unable to skate with some of the quicker Vancouver forwards; Craig Conroy was a minus -3 (as was Bertuzzi); and Jerome Iginla needs to stick to playing hockey.
The Canucks played a text book game against the Flames last time out. Yes, the Flames took control in the first period but Roberto Luongo did what he is expected to do and held the fort while the Calgary attack was on.
After weathering the storm the Canucks managed to exit the first period with a 1-0 lead on a text book goal by Henrik Sedin. I say text book because of Henrik's pressence of mind to find a passing lane allowing Daniel to feed him the puck in a beautiful shooting lane. Review the goal and you will understand where I am coming from.
Early in the second the Canucks combined for a few markers that spotted them a 3-0 lead and they never looked back.
The Flames fell into their old anticts trying to send messages to the Canucks. Messages that fell on deaf ears as the Darcy Hordichuck's ignorance to fight Andre Roy only add the the frustration on the Calgary bench.
This is a great rivalry and one that seems to have stood the test of time. Whether Vancouver or Calgary wins these games have edge and live up to the billing that rivalries should. Tonight's re-match should only add to the history of the rivalry.
In the friendly confines of the Saddledome the Flames, you would expect, will be more focused and tougher to play against. Can't wait til puck drop...let's get it on!