Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Must Take Advantage Of Favorable Schedule

By Colin Likas
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) and Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) and Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vancouver Canucks

Two of these teams, you and I probably expected to not fare well this season. One of them was in the Stanley Cup Final two seasons ago. So let’s unpackage that.

The Canucks come to town on Sunday, and they’re still in the playoff hunt because the West is a mess this season. At the time of this post, they’re just a point out of the second wild-card spot, though Los Angeles sits between them and Nashville (the team in that wild-card spot).

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Vancouver is probably overachieving and should be more in the mold of what Colorado is doing this season. But a hot start negated any plans of that happening. The Sedin twins are well past their prime, as Bo Horvat was the only All-Star selected for the Canucks.

Basically, if the Blackhawks roll out a lineup that makes sense (AKA don’t use Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins) and stay awake for at least 40 minutes, they should be fine. Ryan Miller isn’t much of a game-stealer in net anymore, and Vancouver has ample deficiencies, as shown by a minus-18 goal differential and the team having one guy with exactly 30 points (Horvat) and only five others with 20 or more.

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