After a much deserved break from a hectic schedule, the Chicago Blackhhawks got 3 days off, before they head home to take on their biggest rival(not as big of a rival as a few seasons ago), outside of their division, the Vancouver Canucks.[table “30” not found /]
Statistically, both teams are very comparable, but a slight edge has to be given to the Blackhawks, due to the fact that they are just so far and away better offensively, than any other team, in the NHL. The Canucks struggle on the Power Play, while the Blackhawks struggle on the Penalty Kill, and at the same time the Canucks are leading the league in Penalty Killing, while the Blackhawks are near the league lead in Power Play Percentage. This will be an interesting matchup in special teams. Both teams are good at controlling the puck, and both teams are elite at generating chances. This is a very interesting matchup.
The Canucks are coming off a loss, to the Dallas Stars, just last night, and will likely mtivated to return to their recent winning ways, that has them right in the thick of the playoff race, in the Pacific Division. Last night’s loss was just Vancouver’s 2nd, in their last 10 games. Ryan Kessler has really returned to form, this season, after having a couple seasons dealing with various injuries. Leading the Canucks in points is a tie between the twin brothers Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. The Canucks are also getting lots of help from Mike Santorelli, who is in the midst of a breakout season.
In net, is a familiar face for Hawks’ fans, Roberto Luongo, who has had a fine season, in his “return” to the starting net-minder job, in Vancouver. It hasn’t yet been released, who will start in net, for the Canucks, and since they played last night, it is likely it could be backup, Eddie Lack, starting in the crease, for the Canucks.
The Blackhawks should be well rested, but they can’t be too relaxed, as the Canucks are coming off that disappointing loss, last night, and have likely been raring to go, since they got off the ice, in Dallas. The Canucks will have their work cut out for them, in slowing down Patrick Kane, who has 18 points, during his 10-game point streak. Duncan Keith, who has had his personal differences with a few Canuck players, will look continue his Norris Trophy campaign, tonight.
Tonight is a big game, for the Canucks, as a loss would end all semblances of their 10-game hot streak, and a win, will simply get it moving again, as a win against the Blackhawks is a bigger deal, than against many other teams. Two teams that have a history with one another, and two teams that have played some of the best hockey, in the NHL. It should be a great game!