Petterson, Gaudreau highlight Canucks-Flames matchup
Two of the NHL's slickest offensive talents will go head-to-head at the Saddledome on Saturday.
Both teams are coming off big road wins on Thursday.
Gaudreau posted his fourth career hat-trick Thursday in a 4-1 win in Winnipeg. He has 32 points in his last 19 games, 13 of those points being goals.
Pettersson had a goal and an assist as Vancouver scored on four of their first six shots in Edmonton in a 4-2 win over the Oilers. He has the game-winning goal in four of Vancouver's past seven wins.
Both teams practiced at Calgary's Stampede Corral on Thursday, walking over from the Saddledome in full uniform. The old 7,000-seat arena was the Flames first home when they moved from Atlanta in 1980.
Thursday's game in Winnipeg ended on a nervous note for Calgary. Gaudreau took a slash from Jets' big defensemen Dustin Byfuglien late in Thursday's game when he raced towards an empty-net goal. He left the ice in discomfort. It was enough of a slash that Byfuglien was fined $2,500 on Friday.
Gaudreau also shook off the whack when talking to the media.
"You know, it's part of hockey. I mean, it won't be the last time I'm slashed," Gaudreau he told reporters. "Just kind of surprised. I had a foot or two on him, so I didn't think I was going to get a stick to the arm, but I found the empty net and that's the way it goes."
The Flames get nervous when Gaudreau is slashed because he suffered a broken thumb two years ago and missed 21 games after taking a chop from Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal. The league began a crackdown on slashing for the 2017-2018 because of an increasing use of the stick.
Calgary snapped a three-game losing streak in Winnipeg and is 6-3-1 in their past 10 games. They occupied top spot in the Pacific Division as of Friday afternoon, with a two point lead on San Jose with a game in hand.
Vancouver has surprised so far in what was expected to be a rebuilding year and are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games led by Pettersson, who is headed towards a runaway win in the race for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top freshmen. As of Friday Vancouver was a point back of the second wild card spot through 40 games.
Though it's only the midway point of the 82-game season, Saturday's game is being given plenty of importance.
"As much as we've been on a good run lately, so has everybody else," Flames general manager Brad Treliving told Postmedia News.
"It's not like we've built this big (separation between other teams). Most times when you go on a run, you build a significant cushion. We are just trying to keep our heads above everybody right now. There's lots of runway left in the season, lots of good hockey teams that we're playing."
The Canucks likewise aren't celebrating their early season success.
"From Day 1, we've talked about how we want to play," head coach Travis Green told reporters in Edmonton. "We want to be faster and harder to play against, and we wanted to play meaningful games down the stretch.
"We're not getting ahead of ourselves - we're at .500 right now and we have a long way to go."