January 23 2010 03:58PM
There's your top defensive pairing tonight for the Canucks. That doesn't bode well. Photo: Reuters
A newly formed rivalry takes centre-stage at GM Place tonight as the Vancouver Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that is sure to be full of offense and fireworks.
So that I don't belabour the point, I'll make this quick. I don't like the Canucks chances tonight at all.
The Blackhawks are one of the offensively potent teams in the NHL and have a rock solid defense. While the Canucks can rival the Blackhawks in the goals department, right now the Canucks are suffering badly on the blueline. The Canucks are missing their top three defensemen on a night when they would surely need all three. Kevin Bieksa remains out with this laceration, while Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo have een felled by recent injuries. While neither Mitchell nor Salo expect to miss more than a few games, they're out tonight and the Canucks will pay the price as a result.
While Christian Ehrhoff has been spectacular lately, and Alex Edler has been poised an solid as well, the Canucks can't expect those two to shoulder to majority of the defensive work. And quite frankly the rest of the blueline is comprised of 6th/7th defensement or guys that should be in the AHL.
If the Canucks have ANY hope of winning tonight, they need to control faceoffs so that they can control puck possession. Roberto Luongo has to be nothing short of perfect. The top three offensive lines need to contribute on the scoresheet.
Unfortunately, Luongo has been average at best lately and has played 4000 straight games, the Sedins have only shown up in the third period in the last two games and they haven't dominated puck possession against teams that they should be obliterating.
Time to pull a rabbit out of your collective hats, boys. Otherwise you're in for a long, painful night.
If I'm going to put on my Hat of Prediction, then I'll say the Blackhawks will take this one in a bit of a romp - 6-2.