Canucks Army GDT #53 – Canucks @ Blackhawks

The Vancouver Canucks visit the once reviled Chicago Blackhawks to finish up their short two-game road swing. The Hawks are just 5-4-1 in their past 10 games, but they still have the NHL’s best goal differential and are atop the puck possession standings once again. On the other hand, Vancouver will play without their second and third line centres, as well as two key penalty killers.

It will be a tough task to get a win tonight and continue to hold off the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference playoff race. Read past the jump for a preview.

Broadcast Info

  • Puck Drop: 5:00 PM PST
  • TV: Sportsnet
  • Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

LW C RW
Daniel Sedin 
Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin 
Henrik Sedin
Alexandre Burrows 
Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins 
Chris Higgins
Linden Vey 
Linden Vey
Radim Vrbata 
Radim Vrbata
Derek Dorsett 
Derek Dorsett
Shawn Matthias 
Shawn Matthias
Zack Kassian 
Zack Kassian
Ronalds Kenins 
Ronalds Kenins
Bo Horvat 
Bo Horvat
Jannik Hansen 
Jannik Hansen

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis 
Dan Hamhuis
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Ryan Stanton 
Ryan Stanton
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber

Nick Bonino is out, so Shawn Matthias will move to C. Derek Dorsett will move to line 3, and Ronalds Kenins will take his place on line 4. Adam Clendening will face his former team, as he will draw back into the lineup. Eddie Lack will start in goal.

Defensive Pairings
Niklas Hjalmarsson 
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brent Seabrook 
Brent Seabrook
Duncan Keith 
Duncan Keith
David Rundblad 
David Rundblad
Johnny Oduya 
Johnny Oduya
Michal Rozsival 
Michal Rozsival

Kris Versteeg will return from IR tonight. Corey Crawford will start in goal.

Head to Head

G53 @ CHI

Storylines

  • Centres of Attention – Nick Bonino will miss tonight’s game with an apparent foot injury, meaning that Shawn Matthias will play centre. Matthias has traditionally been a centre for most of his NHL career, but he also hasn’t been very good at it. He was finding some traction on the wing this season, and for the first time in his career, really looking like an assertive presence on the ice, beginning to drive play in the right direction in a depth role. With him in the middle and Nick Bonino joining Brad Richardson on the shelf, the Canucks centre depth has basically eroded to Henrik Sedin and three possession liabilities, which is less than ideal against arguably the most dangerous team in the NHL.
  • Back to Lack  – The Ryan Miller rollercoaster hit another trough on Monday, as the Canucks streaky starter gave up 5 goals on 18 shots against to the Minnesota Wild. Miller is 2-3 with one shutout and an 0.883 save percentage in his last 5 outings, so Willie Desjardins will turn to Eddie Lack tonight to try and hold one of the NHL’s most potent offenses off the scoresheet. Lack stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief of Miller on Monday, and has a strong game against the Winnipeg Jets in his last start, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a 3-2 overtime win.
  • Playoff Race Getting Closer – With two recent losses to the scorching hot Minnesota Wild, Vancouver’s lead on the final wild card spot is down to just two points. They can vault themselves back up to second place in the Pacific with a win tonight, but another loss would be very costly. They’ll be tied with both the Kings and Wild in games played after tonight, but hold just a 3 point lead on LA and a one-win lead against Minnesota – two teams you do not want chasing you. Micah McCurdy’s model still gives Vancouver a ~70% chance at the playoffs based on their play this season, but continuing to flounder can drop that number extremely quickly.

Gameday Reading

  • Ruprecht

    I’m curious to see the damage a line of Mattius, Kassian, Dorsett can do. If all are going well it has the potential to give the Hawks some real trouble.

    Nice to see Lack get the net. He’s earned it. Tough start for him with all of the injuries. But I think he shines tonight with his Dad in the stands.

    • Ruprecht

      Hi Ruprecht,hope your daughters skating is going good. 🙂 this may be premature but,!! our Nucks are playing great tonight.That save Lack`s save on Kaine near the end of the first was awesome.As I write this Kassian has just scored.What is that now? 3 goals in 3 game for Zack.And Willy benched him sheesh.Isn`t it strange how the Canucks can play like sh%t.One night then play with the best the next?Horvat`s doing great as well 1 goal and he nearly got another..Wow.So glad they didn`t trade him and others for Evander.That boys going to be something special in a few years.Anywho back to the game.. Lets hope they hold them out for the 3rd.Lack is now standing on his head ,Hawks powerplay.. Whew!! end of 2nd…out,,

      • Ruprecht

        All is going nicely Northy. She’s at the point now where she’s pretty much on her own out there. Her and some of the other little kids have taken to playing tag with each other, and they also tag me so I’m forced be a part of the chase/avoidance of the feared “IT”. I’m pretty sure my smile is as big as theirs the whole time we’re out there. Such fun.

        It was nice to finally have a Wednesday game so I could catch the whole thing. We sure made it interesting tonight. Liked that Kass line tonight. Actually it was a good game for all of our younger legs. Impressive really. Although the Sedins won it, the younger ones carried us to that point. A few dumb plays opened the door. But a good game against a good team overall.

        Nice to hear from you Buddy. Hope the weather hasn’t been too crazy for you up there. It’s been a pretty wet one down here.