Canucks Army GDT #21 – Canucks vs. Blackhawks

It’s a big night at Rogers Arena, as the Chicago Blackhawks will face off against the Canucks for the first time in 2014-2015, and Daniel Sedin will play in his 1,000th career NHL game. For a full preview of tonight’s action, reap past the jump.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:30 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Kevin Bieksa 
Kevin Bieksa
Ryan Stanton 
Ryan Stanton
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber

Dan Hamhuis will miss his first (of many) games with a leg injury sustained on Thursday. Ryan Stanton will take his place in the lineup, and skate with Yannick Weber on the 3rd pair. Frank Corrado has been recalled from Utica, but will not play. Alex Burrows will miss tonight’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Bo Horvat will play his 8th NHL game. Ryan Miller will start in net.

Defensive Pairings
Duncan Keith 
Duncan Keith
Brent Seabrook 
Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson 
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya 
Johnny Oduya
Adam Clendening 
Adam Clendening
Michal Rozsival 
Michal Rozsival

Despite playing last night, Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks. Andrew Shaw and Jeremy Morin are healthy scratches. Phillip Danault will play his second career NHL game. Adam Clendening will play his third.

Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks have struggled out of the gate – their 12-7-1 record is good for 3rd in the central, but would have them on the outside looking in on the Pacific – but by all accounts, this is still probably one of the best two or three teams in the NHL. They are easily the best puck possession team in the NHL so far, have a Western Conference leading +22 goal differential, and both score and prevent goals at a top-10 rate. They should have a better record based on their goal differential, so they’re basically the reverse Canucks.

What’s more amazing is that their offensive success has come despite an early season shooting percentage malaise that looks to be firmly in the rear view mirror. They’re averaging 4 goals per game over their past 5 outings, and are 6-2-0 in their last 8 games. Whatever ailed the Hawks at the beginning of the year appears to be fixed, leaving a truly dangerous team.

On the Canucks side of things, they’ll begin life without Dan Hamhuis tonight in what will also be Daniel Sedin’s 1000th NHL game. Daniel will join his brother Henrik (they’re twins, don’t ya know) and Trevor Linden as the only players to play 1,000 NHL games as Vancouver Canucks. The twins already sit 1st and 2nd all time for most points by Canucks players, and hopefully both have a few more in the tank. The Sedins are, for my money, the greatest Canucks of all time and it’s only a matter of time until numbers 22 and 33 are hanging from the rafters of Rogers Arena.

As for the game tonight, both Alex Burrows and Dan Hamhuis will be out of the lineup, which is very bad news for Vancouver. Nick Bonino is in the black for possession this season when Burrows is on the ice to help him mask some of his defensive warts, and a sub-50% player when he’s away from Burrows. With all the talk of Burrows not being worth his $4.5 million contract, he really does bring plus-level defensive value. 

Ryan Stanton also gets the nod tonight, and he has struggled enormously this season so far under Willie Desjardins. After being a fantastic surprise last season, Stanton is getting rocked to the tune of a team-low 38.4% Corsi, which is bad enough to make some Buffalo Sabres blush. He’ll have to really turn his game around if Vancouver hopes to survive without Hamhuis.

  • FredTheCaveman

    Had a sense that Stanton has been struggling but that 38% Corsi really is brutal.

    Hope Trader Jim is burning up the lines trying to get another Top 4 D Man.

    Heard that we’ve got a nice trade chip named Markstrom in Utica.