February 04 2011 10:51AM
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG
Game Day Recon #53 - Blackhawks @ Canucks
The Canucks host the biggest nemesis tonight, as the Blackhawks make their way to Rogers Arena. If the Canucks want to prove they can win in the playoffs and make their way to hoisting Lord Stanley's grail, they need to start by tackling their biggest problem - beating the Blackhawks at home.
For themselves, the fans and the doubting media, they need to check this task off tonight. And in emphatic fashion.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
The Vancouver Canucks look for a fifth straight win tonight as they hose the defending Stanley Cup champions. BUt the streak is hardly the story. The Canucks could be on a 10 game winning streak or a 10 game losing streak and it wouldn't matter. What matters is that they are facing the Blackhawks tonight - their nemesis, their Kryptonite, their "daddy". And it all starts at home for the Canucks. In their last 4 meetings in Vancouver, including playoffs, the Blackhawks have beat the Canucks 7-1, 5-1, 7-4, 5-2. That's a total of 24-8. Bloody hell. I hate Kryptonite.
The panic, the mind games, the psychology around the Blackhawks has clearly gotten to the Canucks and specifically Luongo.
For the Canucks, their largest problem has been Patrick Kane, at least as far as the skaters are concerned. The elusive forward has 12 points in 15 career games against the Canucks. But he's not public enemy #1 in the Blackhawks lineup. That dubious honour goes to Marty Turco, who is expected to get the start in goal for Chicago tonight. Turco is 19-8-2 all-time against the Canucks with a 1.92 GAA and a 0.927 Sv%. Turco also has insane numbers on Friday games, posting a record 43-19-11 with 6 shutouts.
Roberto Luongo, the Canucks goaltender for tonight's tilt, doesn't have bad numbers against the Blackhawks in the regular season. It's just his W/L record that's quite average. Despite being 12-9-2 against the Blackhawks, he still has a 2.22 GAA and a 0.926 Sv%. To compare Luongo's Friday stats against Turco's, since joining the Canucks, Luongo is 20-10-3 on Fridays.
And the Canucks last win against the Blackhawks... was on a Friday. Luongo shut out the Blackhawks and the Canucks won 3-0. Which was also on TSN, like tonight's game. In fact the Canucks are 2-0-0 on Friday games broadcast on TSN.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Discipline! The Blackhawks have the #1 PP in the league, and 3rd on the road at 23.6%. Stay out of the box and don't give the Blackhawks a chance with the man advantage.
2. Help your goaltender and block those shots. It's an area of the game that the Canucks have picked up in recent games. Tonight will be a great test as the Blackhawks .
3. #windaturd. The Blackhawks are terrible defensively in the third period. They are third worst in the league in goals-against in the 3rd period. If the Canucks can go into the third period tied, or ahead by a goal, they can press ahead with their typically great finishes to games. The Canucks rank 1st in goals-for in the the third period.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Blackhawks @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. An embarrassment of back-end riches (The Province)
3. Hawks vs. Canucks in first round? It's a distinct possibility (The Province)
4. Canucks/Blackhawks Preview (Yahoo! Canada Sports)
5. Nuckle Puck - Hawks at Canucks Preview (Blackhawks Down Low) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!