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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 8th (All times Eastern)

Calgary Flames (25-31-7) at Vancouver Canucks (28-27-10), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The free-falling Vancouver Canucks will try to halt a four-game slide when they welcome the Calgary Flames for Saturday's clash at Rogers Arena.

This evening's game also marks the first meeting between these clubs since their infamous encounter in Vancouver on Jan. 18. The Canucks recorded a 3-2 shootout win that night, but the game is best remembered for the antics of Vancouver head coach John Tortorella, who tried to break into the opposing team's locker room to start an altercation with Flames coach Bob Hartley during the first intermission.

Tortorella was angered by Hartley's decision to start the game with his fourth line. The heated contest saw 150 penalty minutes assessed to both sides by the time the game was only 4 1/2 minutes old, owing to a second minor scrum a short time later.

The meltdown cost Tortorella dearly, as he was forced to serve a 15-day suspension without pay.

Despite the unpleasantness surrounding the last meeting, Vancouver should be happy to face the Flames on Saturday. Vancouver has taken five straight and seven of the last eight games in this series overall and Calgary also has lost five in a row in B.C.

The Canucks have fallen on hard times over the last few months, losing 11 of 12 and 20 of their last 25 games. The club's current 0-3-1 slide is the club's third losing streak of four or more games since the start of the 2014 calendar year. In spite of the protracted funk, Vancouver still finds itself just four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Vancouver suffered a rough loss in its last appearance, getting slammed 6-1 in Dallas on Thursday. Tyler Seguin fueled the rout for the Stars, recording a hat trick and two assists.

Zac Dalpe supplied Vancouver's lone score and Eddie Lack conceded five goals on 17 shots. Lack is the club's No. 1 option in net since the club dealt Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and the rookie could get another start on Saturday.

"I think we're all kind of disappointed with the way it has been here lately, and I know we are not out of a playoff spot," Lack said. "We just have to battle through it. We've got to refocus and come back on Saturday."

Jacob Markstrom, who was one of the players acquired in the trade that sent Luongo to the Panthers, made his Vancouver debut at the start of the third and gave up one goal on five shots.

Shawn Matthias, another player gained in the Luongo trade, failed to register a point in his first game with the Canucks, but he did fire seven shots on net.

Canucks forward Zack Kassian was given a boarding major and a game misconduct for his hit on Dallas defenseman Brenden Dillon in the loss. On Friday, Kassian was handed a three-game suspension and he'll serve the first part of that ban on Saturday.

The Canucks will try to get something positive going while playing their next two games on home ice. Vancouver is 15-10-6 as the host this season and will cap a brief two-game stay at Rogers Arena when it welcomes the New York Islanders on Monday.

The Flames, who are 13 points out of a playoff spot, were able to win a second straight game on Friday night, rallying to beat the visiting New York Islanders by a 4-3 score.

Joe Colborne scored twice in a three-goal third-period burst to help Calgary down the Islanders at the Saddledome. Sean Monahan also tallied during the rally, while Markus Granlund added a first-period short-handed goal for the Flames, winners in three of four and nine of their last 13 games.

Joni Ortio came up with 23 saves for the win.

"As a team we were turning it over too much in the first two periods," said Calgary forward Mark Giordano. "But then we rallied in the third and it felt good to get this win."

Forwards Jiri Hudler and Matt Stajan and defenseman Dennis Wideman all missed Friday's game and are questionable for Saturday.

Calgary has lost of its last three road games and is just 11-16-4 as the visiting team this season.

03/08 11:02:28 ET

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