The Vancouver Canucks popped 32 shots on former teammate Jacob Markstrom Saturday and couldn’t squeak one past the Calgary Flames goalie, giving his club a pivotal 3-0 win.
Sean Monahan, Dillon Dube and Matthew Tkachuk had power play goals for the Calgary opener.
Canucks goalie Braden Holtby made 32 saves on 35 shots.
But it was the former Canucks that made life difficult for the current Canucks, with Markstrom standing on his head and former defenceman Chris Tanev blocking seven shots.
Vancouver settled into a 1-2-0 record, playing their third road game in four nights. They’ll suit up once more against Calgary Monday before returning home.
For Markstrom, it was his sixth career shutout.
“First home game for me and unfortunately there’s no fans in the stands, but hopefully a lot people were watching and enjoyed the victory,” he said. “Special playing my old team, too. First game back and we’ve got nine more games against them. Quick turnaround, we’ve got another game against these guys, so we’ve got to enjoy this one, and then prepare for Monday and see what we can do better in a couple days.”
Goalie David Rittich had the previous Calgary shutout in a home opener, coincidentally also against Vancouver in October of 2019. The netminder dressed Saturday after sitting out the opener due to family issues.
Apart from the performance between the pipes, the power play was a subject of conversation. Calgary went three-for-six on the man advantage, while Vancouver faltered without a goal in four tries.
“You want to get it going early,” Monahan said. “Right now, special teams are huge this early in the season; they can win you games and lose you games. Tonight, our PK was great (4-for-4) and the power play got three, and we won the game.”
Markstrom and Tanev weren’t the only former Canucks facing their former squad Saturday, as Josh Leivo also suited up against his old team.
Meanwhile, Travis Hamonic faced his former club for the first time since signing with Vancouver earlier in the week.
Also notably, Canucks defenceman Alex Edler was cut by a skate in the third period. It’s not yet known if the injury is serious.
Pic: Associated Press/Jeff McIntosh