Game #19 Preview: It’s Personal

Best. Goal. Ever.
(screenshot courtesy Youtube/CanucksHD/CBC Sports)

Game Day Recon: Game #19 – Blackhawks @ Canucks

Allow me to try my hand at a Chris Farley impression for a moment…

"Hey. Remember the last time the Blackhawks played at Rogers Arena? That was awesome. Oh, and remember when Alex Burrows scored in overtime to win the series? That was awesome."

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:00 PM PT

TV: SN-PAC Radio: Team1040

The Setup

The Vancouver Canucks slayed the dragon on April 26, 2011. And it was about damn time. Let’s not beat around the bush with this. Alex Burrows’ game winning overtime goal is easily one of the three most important goals in Canucks history. It feels like we shouldn’t be romanticizing that game as much, but really, it was just a brilliant game with a storybook outcome for the Canucks.

And yeah, we get it. The Canucks didn’t win the Cup and the Blackhawks did in 2010. We know that will get hung over the heads of Canucks fans until Vancouver finally hoists the silver. If you are a Canucks fans and you don’t get this, you need to give your head shake. But for the Canucks and their fans, Game 7 vs Chicago was as exhilarating and cathartic and soul-satisfying a game as they have ever had in their 41-year NHL history. And let’s just put this out there… much like the Blackhawks since 1961 (up until they won the Stanley Cup in 2010), there has been next to nothing to celebrate in Canucks Nation. We’ll proudly hang our hat on Game 7. It’s one of the few monumental victories we have in this market.

As for the Blackhawks, well they appear to make two moves in the off-season to almost directly target the Canucks. One was to bring in noted assh*le agitator Dan Carcillo, who immediately started his Blackhawks career by calling out three "Canucks" who weren’t actually on the team. Yes – I know that he called out "Laperierre" and we all know he meant Max Lapierre, but that doesn’t mean getting the guy’s name wrong doesn’t make Carcillo a total idiot. In fact, it kind of proves it. Anyway, Carcillo did nothing to prove his actual value in his first game against the Canucks as a Blackhawk. He had no points, 21 PIMs, 1 shot and less than 11 minutes of ice-time. For as much as Carcillo was all brash and brazen, he did more to help the Canucks than hurt them in that first game.

The other addition which seemed to directly target the Canucks was Andrew Brunette. In 67 GP against Vancouver, the noted Canuck Killer has 19G 38A for 57 Pts and a +11. Of that, he has 8G and 11A on the power play against the Canucks. The surprising part of Brunette’s first game against the Canucks as a Blackhawk was that he was largely ineffective. The 38-year-old is on pace for well below his career averages, so it may very be that the Canuck-killing shine has finally worn off Brunette. However, has someone who has watched Brunette torch the Canucks at critical times over and over again, I will never count him out and certainly would never say that he isn’t capable of torching the Canucks again.

As for the Hawks and their injuries, there are two players who could potentially sit out for tonight’s game. Dave Bolland (an actual agitator and decent player, both features Carcillo has not actually mastered yet) has been out with a foot injury and could remain out again, although it looks like he will be a game tiem decision. As well, Brent Seabrook could be out as well after sustaining an injury in practice. So as of right now, it would appear that Bolland is more likely to play than Seabrook. But I would wager on both players being out.

For the Canucks, Luongo is out with what the team is calling an "upper-body injury", although most folks assume Luongo tweaked his groin during a sliding save against the Islanders on Sunday. Cory Schneider gets the start and Eddie Lack gets a call-up from the Wolves and is traveling to Vancouver to back up Schneider tonight.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Keep your sh*t together. There is no doubt that this will be an emotionally charged game. More charged than their first match-up this season. It is VITAL for the Canucks to remain composed and don’t fall into the trap of post-whistle garbage. Let the Blackhawks get unglued. Don’t take the bait.
  2. PLEASE play in the second period. The Canucks don’t have a problem playing the first or third period in any game. But they just blow up in the middle frame. They NEED to simplify the hell out of their game in the second period and dumb the game down. Even grind it to a halt if need be.
  3. Ryan Kesler. Kesler has yet to have that one break-out game this season, still likely hampered by his recovery from hip labrum surgery. He has certainly looked much better in his last two games, and

The Links

Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Canucks and Blackhawks get ready to rumble at The Rog (The Province)
  3. Kesler ready to hammer Hawks (The Province)
  4. Canucks’ Cody Hodgson wants to be one move ahead (Vancouver Sun)b
  5. Canucks, Hawks look like West powers again (CBC Sports)

*** BONUS ***

Eff it, let’s watch the Burrows Game 7 OT winner again… because it’s goddamn beautiful.