While most of the teams in the NHL have wrapped up their regular season and are gearing up for the playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks (21-27-3) and Calgary Flames (23-26-3) still have work to do. Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Vancouver and Calgary will face off four more times this season, the first of which in Alberta on Thursday.
The Canucks came out of their long COVID hiatus last month with wins in three of four games but followed it up with six straight losses to knock them out of contention. Meanwhile, back-to-back losses to open up May hurt the Flames, who now, by winning out, would still miss the playoffs by two points.
This is the first meeting between these teams since February 17th, with the Flames winning four of the six matchups. For Thursday, Calgary is unsurprisingly favored at home, listed at -176. Vancouver, on the other side, is a +148 road underdog.
Calgary Flames – By the Numbers
Entering this game, both teams have similar offensive profiles to each other. The Flames have a slight advantage in goals per game, 2.63 to 2.59, on about 29 shots. Calgary also holds an advantage on the power play, ranking 17th in the NHL at 19.4 percent compared to Vancouver’s 17.1 percent rate.
Defensively, you’ll see that the Flames carry a much bigger advantage across the board. Calgary is allowing 2.85 goals on 28.3 shots, while Vancouver is up to 3.29 goals on 33.5 shots. The Flames also have a penalty kill difference of 2.3 percentage points with the Canucks, ranking 13th with an 80.5 percent kill rate.
Vancouver Canucks – By the Numbers
Starting with the visitors, Vancouver’s leading scorer is right wing Brock Boeser. Despite entering Thursday on a three-game scoreless drought, Boeser still leads the team with 20 goals and 41 points.
Fellow wing J.T. Miller isn’t too far behind Boeser on the points list. Miller is at 39 points in three fewer games, putting together a three-game point streak that was snapped on Tuesday.
Finally, one surprise name for the Canucks is left wing Nils Hoglander. The 20-year old rookie is now up to 26 points after putting up six points in his last seven games, headlined by a two-goal performance against the Jets on Monday.
Switching sides, Calgary’s leading point-producer is center Elias Lindholm. Lindholm, now in his third season with the Flames, has gone pointless in three straight but still leads with 26 assists and 43 points.
Former All-Star Johnny Gaudreau is fast approaching Lindholm’s point total. After a three-point game on Sunday, “Johnny Hockey” now has 15 points in his last 12 games, moving him one shy of the team lead.
Then at 37 points, left wing Matthew Tkachuk has also been playing some good hockey as of late. Tkachuk also had a three-point night last weekend, as he is now tied with Lindholm with 26 assists as part of his 37 total points.
After Braden Holtby started on Tuesday, starter Thatcher Demko should be back in between the pipes for Vancouver on Thursday. Demko carries a 14-17-1 record into the game to go with a 2.89 GAA, .914 save percentage, and one shutout.
Despite making 13 straight starts, you can expect to see the Flames send out Jacob Markstrom against his former team. Markstrom is 19-19-2, offering a 2.66 GAA and .905 save percentage to go along with three shutouts.
In this battle for pride, the Flames appear to be the way to go. Their top scorers have a lot more juice right now, Markstrom is the more dependable option in net, and they have been above .500 this season on home ice. Look for Calgary to earn the win in this North Division showdown.
Pick: Flames -176
100% up to $3,000 Bonus
Bovada is our most recommended ONLINE CASINO and POKER ROOM for US players with excellent deposit options. Get your 100% signup bonus today.