The Vancouver Canucks try to rebound from a catastrophic night as they travel to the Windy City to face the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tonight marks the Canucks’ first game against the Blackhawks after their second consecutive playoff ouster at the hands of their Chicago rivals.
TV: TSN; Radio: Team1040
The Canucks had a fantastic 60 seconds to start their last game against Minnesota. Then all hell broke loose. Roberto Luongo was very shaky for two periods, letting in 6 goals through 40 minutes. Rick Rypien lost a screw and went haywire, throwing sucker punches and attacking a fan in Xcel Energy Center.
So after that debacle, Luongo and the Canucks need to regroup quickly, and face the defending Stanley Cup champions. No big deal.
The Blackhawks have not been particularly stellar at home, which may help the Canucks. The Canucks are also not exactly facing the same team that knocked them out of the 2010 playoffs. So the animosity from the Blackhawks may not be at the same level as previous games. Consider as well that the biggest agitators from last year’s edition of the Blackhawks, like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager, are gone now. That said, this year’s edition still has plenty of grit, enough to give the Canucks plenty of trouble.
Canucks also face an old foe in new colours for the first time, as Marty Turco is expected to start in goal for Chicago. Turco has a bit of a depleted defense in front of him, with the Blackhawks losing players and Brian Campbell out with injury. If the Canucks can get to Turco early, and take his puck movement out of the game, they will limit his effectiveness.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Canucks tonight:
1. Luongo needs to get back on track. Luongo is a good bounce-back goalie, and he needs to silence a pretty unfriendly crowd. He needs to pitch a shutout through at least the first period, if not the first two.
2. Shut down Hossa. Marion Hossa is arguably the league’s hottest player to start the season. Hopefully, Dan Hamhuis will be back in the lineup and will be assigned to shadow Hossa at every chance possible.
3. Stay out of the penalty box. The Canucks are having a real problem with discipline, Rypien’s egregious indiscretion notwithstanding. They simply cannot give the Blackhawks power play too many opportunities, or they will lose any momentum that they will hopefully develop.
Here are your Top 5 links to get you ready for the game tonight:
1. Tale of the Tape – Canucks vs Blackhawks (canucks.com)
2. Hossa making up for departed scorers (Chicago Sun-Times)
3. Canucks Game Day (Vancouver Sun)
4. Hello, Old Friend: Canucks @ Blackhawks Preview (blackhawksdl.com)
5. Canucks @ Blackhawks Game Preview: No Remorse (nucksmisconduct.com)
The Vancouver Sun is doing a live chat on tonight’s game and recent Canucks events.
Rick Rypien’s next punch will come from the NHL after he went wild in Minnesota Tuesday.
The Sun’s Scott Brown and Elliott Pap take up the fight at 3 pm with a live chat. http://bit.ly/wjRSa