Chicago Blackhawks Open April Against Vancouver Canucks

By Brian Kinkade

Feb 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a couple of days makes!  After Friday’s loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the third loss in-a-row to non-contending teams for the Chicago Blackhawks, it felt like the world had come crashing down.  As it turns out, the cure for this remedy is back-to-back victories over contending teams, like the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings.  Tonight, the Hawks look to keep the good feelings alive when they take on the Vancouver Canucks.

This will be the third and final game of the 3-game season series between the Hawks and Canucks.  The Canucks have won both of the first two meetings this season.  Tonight’s game will be played in Chicago and puck drop is set for 7:30 PM Central Time.  Tonight’s game can be seen on CSN-Chicago and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Canucks.

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Offensively overall, the Hawks are an average team although they’ve been better lately.  Tonight, they’ll be up against a Canucks defense that is sub-par.

Defensively, the Hawks are 2nd best in the league and tonight they will face a very good Vancouver offense.

On the Power Play, the Hawks are overall slightly below average and tonight they will have to solve a Canucks Penalty Kill that is pretty solid.The Hawks’ Penalty Kill, it is one of the elite units in the league.  Tonight,

The Hawks’ Penalty Kill unit is one of the elite units in the league.  Tonight, it will be tasked with shutting down a very solid Vancouver Power Play.

In the faceoff circle, the Hawks are a very good team and tonight they will be taking draws with a Canucks team that is one of the worst in the league.

In terms of puck-possession and generating scoring chances, the Hawks are one of the better teams in the league.  Tonight, they will be fighting for the puck against a Canucks team that is slightly below average in puck-possession and generating scoring chances.

On paper, this is a very evenly matched game.  However, the edge in possession numbers and the fact that they are playing at home, a slight edge has to go to the Hawks.  Vancouver has surprised a lot of people this year and are a very good team.  Both teams are coming off of two consecutive victories over contending teams.  This should be a good one.

The Canucks are 45-27-5 with 95 points, which is good for 2nd place in the Pacific Division.  They are 4 points ahead of the 3rd place Calgary Flames and 12 points behind the 1st place Anaheim Ducks.  Clearly, 1st place is out of the question but the Canucks will likely be comfortable set for the playoffs.

The twins, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin pace the team offensively with 68 points and 66 points respectively.  Former Hawk, Radim Vrbata, is not far behind them and is having a fine season with 60 points.  Nick Bonino is on fire with 5 points in his last 3 games.

Starting in net for the Canucks will likely be Eddie Lack.  Lack has taken over very admirably for the injured Ryan Miller.  In 37 games played, Lack has a very good .919 Save Percentage.    

The Hawks are 46-24-6 with 98 points, which is good for 3rd place in the Central Division.  Currently, the Hawks are 1 point behind the 2nd place St. Louis Blues and 5 points behind the 1st place Nashville Predators(who have played in 2 more games than the Hawks and Blues).

Jonathan Toews has a 3-game point streak going and is one point away from sharing the team-lead in points with Patrick Kane.  Not to be outdone, Toews’ linemate, Marian Hossa, has 3 points in his last 2 games.  Defensemen, Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson both scored goals against on Monday against L.A.  Look for the blueline to continue to pinch and chip in more offensively, as it has lead to great success for the Hawks.

Starting in net for the Hawks will likely be Corey Crawfordtonight and it will likely be Scott Darling who plays tomorrow night in Buffalo.  Crawford has been great this season with a .923 Save Percentage in 53 games played.  In 11 career games against the Canucks, Crawford has a very good .920 Save Percentage.

With a win tonight, the Hawks could clinch the playoffs.  It’s all but a certainty, so it won’t be the cause for much of a celebration.  More importantly however is what a win will do for the Hawks in the Central Division standings.  Let’s get it done.

Go Hawks!