Game #16- Vancouver Canucks(8-3-3, 19 points) Vs. Chicago Blackhawks(12-0-3, 27 points)
Game time- 7:30 PM Central Time
Radio- WGN 720 AM
Season Series- 2/1/13 VAN 2- CHI 1
Preview- The Chicago Blackhawks will tie the 2006-2007 Anaheim Ducks’ record for the NHL record for best start to a season, and it would be extra meaningful if such a feat would be achieved through a victory over the hated Vancouver Canucks.
The Vancouver Canucks are currently sitting in first place in the Northwestern Division standings with 19 points on the season. The big story for the Canucks has been their ability to thrive through their awkward goalie controversy. In the offseason, the Canucks commited to goaltender Corey Schneider, by signing him to a 3-year, $12 million contract, delegating veteran Roberto Luongo to backup duties, and the star attraction of many trade rumors. As the puck dropped on the 2013 season, Schneider struggled, and Luongo has thrived, and re-taken his starting job in the crease for the Canucks(although Schneider has recently improved his play). However, tonight Schneider will be getting the start for Vancouver, as he tries to get his season back on track, and thwarting the Blackhawks’ scorching-hot start to the season would do him wonders.
The Canucks are lead by their annual lamp-lighters in brothers Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin. The Canucks’ blueline has proved to be productive as well, as Alexander Edler has put up 10 points in 13 games played. The Canucks have the 4th best Goals Against per Game average in the NHL(2.14).
The pressure will certainly be on for the Chicago Blackhawks, as not only are they playing against hated rivals in the Vancouver Canucks, but the idea of making history is looming in the balance. The Hawks are off to a fantastic start, and cannot seem to be stopped by anyone. It is worth noting that although they have not lost in regulation yet this season, one of their two overtime losses this season came in their only previous meeting with the Canucks, earlier this month.
Tonight’s game will be extra challenging for the Blackhawks, as they will have to play without Defenseman Brent Seabrook, who was injured in the previous game against the Los Angeles Kings. Also, it looks like Ray Emery will be getting the start in net tonight for the Hawks, as Corey Crawford is nursing an upper-body injury. Emery has played very well in relief of the red-hot Crawford.
The Blackhawks are lead by the continually red-hot Patrick Kane, who leads the team in points with 21. No overview of the Chicago Blackhawks is complete without mentioning Captain, Jonathan Toews, who has put up 15 points on the season. Don’t let the points total fool you, Brandon Saad has been one of the more effective Blackhawks on the ice, and continues to play great. The Hawks are ranked 2nd in the NHL in Goals Per Game at a rate of 3.33 goals. They lead the league in Goals Against per Game, at an outstanding clip of 1.87 goals. The Hawks success this season thus far is lead by their potent Penalty Kill unit, which is 3rd best in the league as it has killed 89.1% of opposing Power Plays.
Blackhawks Vs. Canucks is always an exciting matchup, as these two teams really dislike each other. Tonight’s game will be no exception, and with the possibility of history being made, or the possibility of just missing out on making history will certainly add another exciting chapter in the Blackhawks/Canucks rivalry.