The Vancouver Canucks handled the Calgary Flames in their season opener. Given the destination, the rematch might cause even more trouble for the Flames.
Calgary will try to reverse its struggles in Vancouver on Saturday night in another rivalry showdown between Western Conference quarterfinal opponents from a year ago.
The Canucks got a small measure of revenge for their six-game postseason loss with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday in Calgary, their 10th win in the last 12 regular-season meetings.
Worse for the Flames is their road record against the Canucks. Including a 1-2 mark in the playoffs, Calgary is 2-6-4 in its last 12 games in Vancouver – a span in which it’s been outscored 34-18.
The Flames hold high expectations after compiling 97 points last season and winning their first postseason series since 2003-04. But they had a poor effort in the opener – which included a deflection into their own net in the third period.
"That was probably as bad as we can get out there," captain Mark Giordano told the Flames’ official website. "We turned over a lot of pucks. We were making poor decisions and they made us pay. They played a solid game and they played the right way and that’s why they beat us that badly.
"Last year we believed we were a playoff team, and we do again. We’re looking forward to getting better and on paper today, if you look at our roster, we do look like a deeper, better roster. Now as players, we have to bring that and prove it on the ice."
The Flames fell to 0-5-1 in their last six season openers, and the Canucks beat them for the second straight year. Vancouver’s top line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Brandon Sutter did much of the damage with three goals and three assists.
Daniel Sedin scored a goal and had two assists while Sutter added a goal and an assist. The Canucks acquired Sutter from Pittsburgh in July and moved him to the wing in their final preseason game after he spent his first seven NHL seasons at center.
”Hank and Daniel are pretty smart guys, so we can read off each other and to be honest, it’s been a little easier than I expected in terms of the positioning of it,” Sutter said. ”They’re so intelligent out there, easy to read, they’re always in the right spot, so that makes it easier for me and for anyone that plays with them.”
Daniel Sedin has five goals and seven assists in his last 12 games against Calgary, including the postseason.
Ryan Miller made 29 saves Wednesday to boost his save percentage to .924 in seven games against Calgary since arriving in Vancouver. Flames goalie Karri Ramo is 2-3-1 with an .899 save percentage in six career starts against the Canucks.