It’ll be hard for the Vancouver Canucks to redo what they pulled off on Wednesday.
Sequels always suck, anyway.
But with a second win over the Calgary Flames, three nights after an impressive 5-1 win to start their season, the Canucks can leap out to four points before Alberta even wakes up. At least, it looked like the Flames were sleeping in their season debut, when Vancouver peppered Karri Ramo with 44 shots and the Sedin-Sedin-Sutter line scored three goals to pace the victors.
Defenceman Kris Russell said the Canucks “embarrassed” his Flames, just a few months after Calgary put Vancouver to bed in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Rivalries are always fun to play in,” said new Canuck Brandon Sutter, who picked up a goal and an apple in his first game with Vancouver (via Canucks.com). “They’re always tough games. These two teams played each other in the playoffs last year, and any time you do that, playoffs have the way to change the mindset on the ice when you’re playing a team. It really turns into a battle, a war.”
Impressive in the win, above just the Sedins and the almost-perfect Ryan Miller, were rookies Jared McCann and Ben Hutton.
In their very first NHL games, both Hutton and McCann played central roles in Canuck goals – Hutton picked up an assist on Jannik Hansen’s game-opening goal, while McCann is still waiting to get credit for an assist on Alex Burrows’ 4-1 goal in the third.
McCann batted the puck out of the air in his own zone and then fed Burrows, who was skating down the right wing, before the veteran beat Ramo from way out for the insurance marker. Oddly, the goal was registered as ‘unassisted’. (Word is, the Canucks have notified the NHL and are hoping to get McCann his first NHL point.)
Jiri Hudler scored the only goal for Calgary, with assists going to his linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
That trio will terrorized Vancouver in April’s divisional series and will need to control the puck again on Saturday night for Calgary to reverse the outcome.
Ex-Canuck Mason Raymond will draw in for the Flames tomorrow night, while the Canucks’ other rookie – Abbotsford’s own Jake Virtanen – will sit out for a second straight night.
“If you put a guy in, that means you take somebody out,” said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins, on Virtanen. “You take somebody out and it’s hard for them as well, ‘I’m not playing that good’ or whatever.
“Jake will get in the lineup somewhere along the line. We’ll find a spot for him. When he does, I know he’ll play hard.”
Face-off is at 7:00 p.m. PST in Vancouver – Rogers Arena. (Broadcast: CBC on TV)