Midway through the Blackhawks 5 game home stand after the all-star break, Chicago will look to play spoiler to the visitors from Vancouver. In a matchup between the leagues best and worst teams (76 poiints to 31 points) many will likely overlook the game as a "forgone conclusion".
The Hawks however have played the Canucks tough this season, despite the clear differences in talent on the ice. Just 3 weeks ago the Blackhawks lost a well-played game 2-0 on the road and a hard fought 4-3 loss at home just 5 weeks before that. It's unlikely that the Canucks coaching staff will take this Chicago team lightly.
It has been the re-emergence of Vancouver's netminder Thatcher Demko that has made an average Canucks team into true contenders this season. With a 2.45 gaa and an outstanding .919 save %, Demko is on the short list for the Vezina award this season (league's best goaltender).
With the help of an experienced coaching staff, roster stability, and health the 6'4 left catching goalie has now posted a 28-9-0 record on the season. It will be a tough matchup for a depleted Hawks roster (still without Connor Bedard) to score more than a goal or two tonight. With Petr Mrazek in goal however (all goalie starts are subject to change) Chicago should have a chance. The 2-0 loss in particular just 3 weeks ago should lend to a confidence boost for the home team tonight.
Will the Blackhawks have a chance to have a rare 32nd ranked team over 1st ranked team win this evening? Even with the odds not in their favor, based on their past matchups, tonight's game could be closer than most think.