November 22 2009 10:54AM
All Hail! 'Tis the return of our goal scoring saviour, Daniel Sedin!
Daniel makes his triumphant return to the Canucks line-up after missing 18 games with a broken foot. It couldn't come at a more opportune time, as his Canucks host the high-flying Central division-leading Chicago Blackhawks tonight at GM Place.
The Canucks are coming off back-to-back mauling of the Colorado Avalanche, outscoring them 13-4. The Avs are clearly on the decline after their blistering start, so the Canucks face a much tougher test in the Blackhawks. Chicago itself is coming to Vancouver after winning its last two games quite handily. The Blackhawks swept through back-to-back games in Alberta, outscoring Calgary and Edmonton by a combined 12-3.
However, this will be Chicago's third game in four nights, and the middle of a six-game road trip. There is potential for the Blackhawks to come out sluggish and slow after two big wins. Other the other hand, the Blackhawks will likely not forget the 3-2 loss to Vancouver in their own barn a couple of weeks ago, and will be out to exact a little revenge.
Chicago's roster is full of BC-born players who always turn up the heat when they play in Vancouver. Look for big games from Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer in particular. Dustin Byfuglien always seem to get under the skin of every Canuck player, so he'll be at his naty best tonight, I'm sure. It goes without saying that Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seakbrook will all be at their usual best.
The Canucks do catch a bit of a break though. Dave Bolland and Adam Burish are still out with long-term injuries. Both players have been spurs in the Canucks' side in recent years. As well, Marion Hossa plans to make his season debut with the 'Hawks ... but not until Wednesday in San Jose.
One question mark for the Blackhawks all season continues to be goaltending. The Canucks need to pepper Christobal Huet with a ton of shots and create lots of traffic in front of him. This is a night for Burrows to be at his Burrowsy best. We need super-pests tonight. If the Canucks can turn up their annoy-o-metre, the goals should come.
Although the Canucks have been scoring more frequently lately, Daniel's return to the line-up will add some much needed consistency, on both the scoresheet and the line combinations.
Let's hope that Daniel's return gives the Canucks a shot in the arm full of energy and nastiness tonight.