Vancouver Canucks (36-35-11) at Calgary Flames (35-40-7)
|Date & Time||Wednesday October 8, 2014, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Calgary Flames +111 / Vancouver Canucks -122 --- Over/Under:
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The Vancouver Canucks begin life after the John Tortorella debacle as they head to the road to face a young Calgary Flames team.
The Vancouver Canucks have long been synonymous with the Western Conference playoffs but last season under new head coach John Tortorella the team was a travelling circus and missed the postseason altogether while former bench boss Alain Vigneault took the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final. Vancouver will now go with Willie Desjardins who is more of a player’s coach and the energy in the dressing is reportedly a lot more relaxed and focused on winning that it was a season ago which is understandable considering Tortorella’s temper. The Canucks are still hanging on to the success of Daniel and Henrik Sedin and while they have fallen off over the last couple of seasons they are still very much a threat to put the puck in the net and alongside journeyman forward Radim Vrbata on the top line they’ll be leaned on heavily offensively. The Canucks do have some secondary options as well with the likes of Nick Bonino, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen still on the roster and with Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler at the point the Canucks will still be lethal on the power play. Ryan Miller is also in the fold now as the team’s new number one net minder which softens the blow a little but on the Luongo-Schneider debacle that Mike Gillis put them in.
The Calgary Flames begin another season on Wednesday and while optimism remains high for the future as a number of their top prospects are looking very nice I think this is going to be another tough year in Calgary. Johnny Gaudreau who is likely going to crack the final roster and Sam Bennett who likely will not are two huge pieces of this team moving forward and while it is nice to see some of their youngsters thriving I just don’t see how they can compete in the Western Conference this season. Calgary is very thin up front and will be relying on second year man Sean Monahan much more than they should and while Jonas Hiller was a nice pick up from Anaheim I don’t see him having a bounce back season in his new environment. Calgary is always a tough place to play in and the home fans always get up for big games but the Canucks just simply have the best roster in all three facets and I like Miller to be the difference maker on opening night.