Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/23/13
Flames and Canucks Look for First “W” Northwest Division foes headline a rather light NHL schedule Wednesday night. Both the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks have been underwhelming so far and each need a win in the worst way. Two points for either team on Wednesday will go a long way in lessening the hole created by a pedestrian start to this shortened season. Calgary Flames (0-2-0-0) at Vancouver (0-1-0-1) When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 23, 2013 Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia Broadcast: SNET-W, SNET-P Flames vs. Canucks Betting Lines from Bodog Calgary Flames +1½ (-215) +144  Vancouver Canucks -1½ (+185) -158 Total: 5.5 *NHL ATS Matchup Report* The Calgary Flames pay visit to Vancouver on Wednesday night and nothing seems to be going right early in the season for the team – two straight losses to start the season with little reason for optimism based on the product on the ice. The Calgary Flames are going to have to rely on defense and goaltending this season if they wish to have any shot of making the playoffs. The problem so far for the Flames is that the defense and Mikka Kiprusoff are not holding up their end of the bargain just yet. Calgary has given up nine goals in their two games and Kiprusoff has a 4.54 goals against average and a miserable .830 save percentage thus far. As for Calgary’s offense – it has been OK but is lacking one certain Captain. It is Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak that have led the way so far – not at all what was expected and a far cry from what is needed out of Jarome Iginla. Cory Schneider will start Wednesday night (Photo: Yahoo) All in all, the Flames appear on the surface to be below average and even where they were expected to be strong they have struggled so far in this young season. Ugh – where to start with the Vancouver Canucks. We all know that they are missing Ryan Kesler and David Booth but the excuses have to stop soon – this team is built to win and as of yet have been unable to do so. Coach Alain Vigneault has named Cory Schneider his starting goaltender for Wednesday night with rumors of Roberto Luongo being moved on sooner than later. Vancouver may have been a tad unlucky not to win against Edmonton Sunday night but they had no business losing 7-3 to the Duck Saturday. Early season mulligans have been used up – time for this team to get clicking on offense and with their deep and talented defensive corp. Vancouver’s goaltending hasn’t exactly been up to snuff, the defense has yet to find its legs and the offense is being led by Zack Kassian and Alex Edler! Can I get some Sedins please? The twins have been OK but their lack of touch has hurt the power play and the overall offense of this team. The Canucks are without 2/3 of their second line again Wednesday night but others absolutely have to step up. Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider: • Over is 10-1 in CAL last 11 Wed. games. • CAL are 3-10 in their last 13 overall. • CAL are 8-20 in their last 28 road games. • Under is 6-2 in VAN last 8 Wed. games. • VAN are 50-18 in their last 68 vs. Northwest. • VAN are 7-3 in their last 10 Wed. games. • CAL are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings in Vancouver. • Over is 16-6-5 in the last 27 meetings. Vancouver has yet to play its best game of the season. In fact, they have yet to put 40 straight purposeful minutes together! A decent remedy for a struggling team is the Calgary Flames who appear thin in the talent department. If Mikka Kiprusoff is not Calgary`s best player they lose! Right now, Kipper is struggling. It all adds up to a Vancouver win Wednesday night and more turmoil in Flames-land! Free NHL Pick: Bet on Vancouver Canucks -158 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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