Vancouver Canucks @ Chicago Blackhawks
5:00 PM PST
|1.67 (T-13th)||Goals/Game||3.00 (T-3rd)|
|3.00 (T-11th)||Goals Against/Game||1.67 (T-3rd)|
|16.7% (10th)||PP||33.3% (T-2nd)|
|66.7% (T-13th)||PK||83.3% (7th)|
> Score Settling: Vancouver has been in a 3-0 position once in their playoff history and, conveniently, it was two seasons ago when they dusted off St. Louis in four straight, right before the nightmare of playing Chicago in the post season began to form. It shouldn’t be a shock if the ice is tilted for the opening 20 minutes, meaning Luongo and the blueline will be under siege again and the PK will have to come up huge should someone get sloppy. If the Canucks can escape the first and the pace settles down, their advantage could be when Hawks defense begins to tire. If the Sedins are silenced, look for the Kesler line or Raymond line to chip in. Ehrhoff is at a point per game pace and it would be a boon to get Salo or Bieksa on the scoreboard too. Lastly, this is perfect Luongo’s chance to shake loose some demons and critics by standing on his head to send the champs home in four. So let it be written, so let it be done.
> Last Gasp: With no room for error, the Blackhawks are flirting with disaster by activating Bolland (so sayeth the Twitter machine) and scratching Seabrook with an upperbody injury. They’ll also get Bickell and Johnson back for the bottom six, but replacing Seabrook is essentially impossible (and if John Scott is tapped as the 6th D, pure comedy). Seabrook’s 24:23 TOI is more than any of the Vancouver defense, second only to Keith’s 26:53 TOI which leads all playoff blueliners. Those minutes have to be spread to Hjalmarsson (game one goat), Campbell (game three goat) or Campoli. At least Bolland represents a chance to finally clamp down on the Sedins and improve their PK , but after missing a month with a concussion, being approved for light contact on Sunday and not taking the practice skate today, you have to wonder how Q will use him. Nevertheless, their top lines should get a boost and Bickell remains a big body option once the lines get jumbled. Backs against the wall at home with the Torres hit fresh in their minds? Brace for impact.
> Impress Your Friends With Knowledge!: If the Canucks complete the sweep, the Blackhawks will be the third team in NHL history to be a defending Cup champion swept out of the title run the following season (joined by the 1951 Detroit Red Wings and 2003 Anaheim Ducks).