Calgary Flames’ Tyler Toffoli (73) scores against Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Friday, March 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver
It was a comeback the Calgary Flames needed.
After going down 2-0 to the Vancouver Canucks early in the second period Friday, the Flames rallied, forced overtime and collected a crucial 5-4 victory.
The result marked the first time all season that Calgary (35-26-15) has won after trailing to start the third period.
“I think it speaks volume to the character that we have in this room,” said defenceman Troy Stecher, who put up a goal and an assist for the Flames.
“Tonight, it seemed like any time we scored, we took a step backwards. It’s not something you want to do but at the end of the day, we find a way to get two points and stay in the (playoff) hunt.”
Tyler Toffoli ended the game 3:27 into overtime, collecting a pass from Mikael Backlund in the slot and firing a quick shot over Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko for his second goal of the night.
“It’s about time we came back and won a game. So we needed it,” Toffoli said. “And obviously feels good.”
Blake Coleman and Jonathan Huberdeau also had goals for Calgary in regulation. Backlund and MacKenzie Weegar chipped in with two helpers.
Jacob Markstrom had 16 saves for Calgary, who won a third straight game for the first time since Dec. 7.
The Flames remain two points out of a playoff position with five games left in the regular season.
“We were pretty resilient,” said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter. “There was a lot of things that could have taken you out of the game right? But it actually helped us in some ways.”
Elias Pettersson, Conor Garland, Anthony Beauvillier and Aidan McDonough — with his first NHL goal — all found the back of the net for the Canucks (34-34-7).
It was a busy night in net for Demko, who stopped 36-of-41 shots.
“We battled. It’s tough,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said of his team’s performance. “They had six power plays. We couldn’t handle their forecheck. I thought they were dumping a lot of pucks. And we tried to have a game plan, I thought a couple of guys didn’t execute.”
The Flames forced extra time with a late power-play goal after Pettersson was called for high-sticking.
Noah Hanifin sent a hard shot off the end boards from the point and the puck bounced to Huberdeau, who fired a rocket in past Demko from the bottom of the faceoff circle, tying the game at 4-4 at the 16:47 mark.
The Flames were 1-for-6 with the man advantage Friday and the Canucks went 1-for-2.
Calgary outshot the home side 15-6 across the second, but Vancouver took a one-goal lead into the locker-room.
The Canucks took a 3-2 lead when McDonough buried his first NHL goal midway through the second period.
Sheldon Dries set up the strike, taking a backhanded shot from his knees at the side of the crease. Markstrom stopped the shot but couldn’t contain the rebound and the puck popped out to McDonough, who fired a wrist shot in 12:12 into the frame.
“It was great,” said McDonough, who celebrated the achievement on the ice with his childhood friend, Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone.
“Obviously, you dream about scoring that on the driveway or in the backyard your whole life. And to get one there was, it was pretty special.”
Stecher, who hails from Richmond, B.C., registered his 100th regular-season NHL point.
“It’s pretty cool, especially to do it here in front of some friends and family,” he said. “It was a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Just happy to achieve it.”
Toffoli hit a new career high in goals, surpassing the 31 he scored for the L.A. Kings in 2015-16.
Pettersson’s goal extended his point streak to a career-high 14 games, with eight goals and 12 assists across the stretch.
The Canucks held their annual Pride night, featuring themed warm-up jerseys, special entertainment before and during the game, and video messages from people in the LGBTQ community.
Vancouver forward Andrei Kuzmenko skipped warm-ups in order to avoid wearing the special uniforms, designed by a local artist. He’s the latest NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride jersey this season.
Tocchet said Friday that defenceman Filip Hronek is likely done for the season as he works his way back from a shoulder injury.
“There’s really no reason for him to come back,” the Canucks coach said. “If this were a playoff game, he’d be in the game. But it’s not a playoff game. … He’s going to have a long time to get his shoulder perfect.”
The 25-year-old blue liner has one assist in four games for Vancouver since being acquired by the Canucks ahead of the NHL trade deadline in March. He didn’t play for his new team until March 28 because of the shoulder injury.
Flames: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Canucks: Continue a five-game homestand Sunday against the L.A. Kings.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023.
Hot rental market makes search ‘stressful’ for many — and it won’t get better soon
Marissa Giesinger is pictured in Calgary, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Tara Deschamps in Toronto
On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Marissa Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. As an added difficulty, many landlords are unwelcoming to the couple’s brood — dogs Kado and Rosco and a cat named Jester.
“We made the tough decision recently to house our dogs with someone else until we can find a place that’s affordable and we can take both of them,” said Giesinger, a 23-year-old Mount Royal University student.
“It’s definitely been stressful.”
The competitive rental market Giesinger has encountered in Calgary is being seen across the country as multiple factors combine: high interest rates deter buyers and add to rental demand, still-high inflation is squeezing renter budgets, there’s an undersupply of purpose-built rental units and population growth is fuelling demand.
These conditions have left prospective renters feeling even more frustrated than usual by sky-high rents, the frenzy of interest that surrounds any affordable listing and the litany of demands landlords can make when so many people are interested in their home.
Giacomo Ladas, communications director for Rentals.ca, calls it “almost a perfect storm” — and it isn’t likely to ease up any time soon.
“What this does is create such a burden on this rental housing market that even though we’re out of the (busy) summer rental season, there’s so much demand that (these conditions are) going to continue like this until the fall and into the winter,” he said.
Data crunched by his organization and research firm Urbanation.ca shows average asking rents for newly-listed units in Canada increased 1.8 per cent between July and August and 9.6 per cent from a year earlier to reach a record high of $2,117 last month.
Between May and August, asking rents in Canada increased by 5.1 per cent or an average of $103 per month.
When Giesinger rented a two-bedroom basement unit with a roommate a few years ago, the duo paid $1,000 per month, but now she routinely spots “super tiny,” one-bedroom places for $1,350 a month.
“If you want a basement suite or an apartment, you’re looking at minimum $1,200 and that doesn’t include any utilities or anything like that unless it’s a super rare listing,” Giesinger said.
Rentals.ca data show newly listed one-bedroom properties in Calgary priced at an average $1,728 per month in August, up 21.6 per cent from a year earlier. Two-bedroom homes have climbed 17.4 per cent to $2,150 over the same period.
The picture in Vancouver and Toronto is far bleaker. Rentals.ca found the cities had the highest rents in the country.
Newly-listed one-bedroom properties in Vancouver averaged $2,988 in August, up 13.1 per cent from a year earlier, while two-bedroom units hit $3,879, an almost 10 per cent increase year-over-year.
Newly-listed Toronto one-bedroom homes averaged $2,620 in August, up almost 11 per cent from the year before, while two-bedroom properties had a 7.1 per cent rise over the same time frame to $3,413.
It’s numbers like these that have convinced Kanishka Punjabi to abandon her hopes of moving in the near term.
“Two days ago, I gave up on my search because the rental market is that bad,” she said.
The public relations worker has been living in Mississauga, Ont., but felt it was time to find a home in downtown or midtown Toronto, closer to where she works.
However, few of the two-bedroom homes she spotted in her two-month search were within her $2,800 budget.
For example, one apartment she liked at the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton streets had 25 offers in just over a week.
“Some people actually just sent in their offer without looking at the apartment too because there are so many people who are in desperate need of rental units,” said Punjabi. “There’s just not enough.”
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has projected that the country needs to build 3.5 million additional homes beyond what’s planned before the market reaches some semblance of affordability.
It also calculated that the annual pace of housing starts — when construction begins on a home — edged down one per cent in August to 252,787 units compared with 255,232 in July.
Despite the nudge down, Rishi Sondhi, an economist with TD Bank Group, said it has been a strong year for starts because the industry is responding to elevated prices by building at a robust pace.
But between population growth and rising interest rates, he said, “supply is struggling to keep up with demand” and that’s bound to weigh on renters for quite some time.
“In the short term, it would be unrealistic to expect too much of a reprieve simply because population growth is likely to remain strong through the duration of this year — and that’s really one of the big fundamental drivers,” he said.
“In addition, it’s unlikely to expect affordability in the ownership market to improve too much either because we think the Bank of Canada (key rate) is going to be on hold for the remainder of the year, but there is some risk that they take rates even higher, especially if inflation doesn’t co-operate.”
For renters like Giesinger that message puts even more pressure on her to settle on a place soon.
“Now I’m scrambling to find the money for a deposit and we’re still never really sure like what kind of place we’re going to get,” she said.
“And when you’re battling dozens of other people for a rental it can be super stressful.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2023.
UCP asks Albertans to consider an Alberta Pension Plan
News release from the United Conservative party
The government is eager to hear your views. To find more information, and participate in a survey, tap the button below.
Albertans deserve a pension plan that reflects their hard work and earnings, and it is up to Albertans to decide which pension plan that is.
-Your UCP Team
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