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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

CANUCKS ARMY GDT 74 – CANUCKS @ BLACKHAWKS (non playoff edition)

The Vancouver Canucks hopped on a flight to the windy city for a battle with the Blackhawks. Odds are there won’t be any fireworks in this one — nowhere near the ones by Lake Michigan –, but it could be said this game is something of a homecoming for the Canucks.

Some of the best (and worst) memories come from this city and the history these two teams share hasn’t been replicated in recent years. The Sedins might be making their last trip to the United Center but they’ll remember things every now and then that will make them smile. Tonight though, it will be a battle.

If you haven’t figured out by now (where they’re playing), I’m talking about Chi-town.

Let’s Do This™

WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF

TV: SNET-P

RADIO: SN650

PUCK DROP: 6:30 PM

LINE COMBINATIONS

Nothing is what it seems anymore. The Bo Horvat line has a bit of step but has been forgettable at times, the Sedins don’t have anyone that resembles a sticking linemate and the bottom-six is just as bad.

Honestly, line blender this one and see what sticks. Put Jake Virtanen with Bo Horvat and Darren Archibald, throw Jussi Jokinen with the Sedins, and let Brendan Leipsic roll with Brandon Sutter who seems like the latest player to be the only one showing up in highlights.

Ben Hutton is still on the mend after having his foot drained. Don’t expect him until maybe the end of the season.

The back to back combo will most likely show off both goalies. Anders Nilsson would be my pick.

Vancouver Canucks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW
Brendan Leipsic
BRENDAN LEIPSIC

Rating: 71.4#82 LW

Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT

Rating: 74.2#67 C

Nikolay Goldobin
NIKOLAY GOLDOBIN

Rating: 68.5#109 RW

Daniel Sedin
DANIEL SEDIN

Rating: 72.9#60 LW

Henrik Sedin
HENRIK SEDIN

Rating: 70.4#167 C

Reid Boucher
REID BOUCHER

Rating: 71.0#151 RW

Darren Archibald
DARREN ARCHIBALD

Rating: 70.6#99 LW

Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER

Rating: 70.7#157 C

Sam Gagner
SAM GAGNER

Rating: 71.9#123 RW

Jussi Jokinen
JUSSI JOKINEN

Rating: 71.7#77 LW

Nic Dowd
NIC DOWD

Rating: 70.0#178 C

Jake Virtanen
JAKE VIRTANEN

Rating: 70.2#84 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Alexander Edler
ALEXANDER EDLER

Rating: 73.2#82 LD

Chris Tanev
CHRIS TANEV

Rating: 72.0#139 RD

Michael Del Zotto
MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO

Rating: 71.7#156 LD

Troy Stecher
TROY STECHER

Rating: 70.8#192 RD

Derrick Pouliot
DERRICK POULIOT

Rating: 70.4#214 LD

Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA

Rating: 68.9#245 RD

 

Chicago has loaded up the top line for what can be presumed the rest of the season because at this point, being out of the playoffs, what’s the difference? Go hard and pad a few stats.

Anton Forsberg should get the start.

Chicago Blackhawks lines courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

LW C RW
Brandon Saad
BRANDON SAAD

Rating: 74.4#39 LW

Jonathan Toews
JONATHAN TOEWS

Rating: 78.0#31 C

Patrick Kane
PATRICK KANE

Rating: 81.6#4 RW

Vince Hinostroza
VINCE HINOSTROZA

Rating: 71.3#142 LW

Nick Schmaltz
NICK SCHMALTZ

Rating: 72.7#101 C

Andreas Martinsen
ANDREAS MARTINSEN

Rating: 66.6#223 RW

Tomas Jurco
TOMAS JURCO

Rating: 69.7#94 LW

Artem Anisimov
ARTEM ANISIMOV

Rating: 72.8#100 C

Alex DeBrincat
ALEX DEBRINCAT

Rating: 75.1#28 RW

Patrick Sharp
PATRICK SHARP

Rating: 70.6#101 LW

David Kampf
DAVID KAMPF

Rating: 71.6#64 C

John Hayden
JOHN HAYDEN

Rating: 70.4#166 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Duncan Keith
DUNCAN KEITH

Rating: 75.8#44 LD

Jan Rutta
JAN RUTTA

Rating: 72.1#131 RD

Erik Gustafsson
ERIK GUSTAFSSON

Rating: 73.0#88 LD

Brent Seabrook
BRENT SEABROOK

Rating: 72.8#103 RD

Jordan Oesterle
JORDAN OESTERLE

Rating: 71.1#182 LD

Connor Murphy
CONNOR MURPHY

Rating: 70.1#224 RD

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Brandon Sutter deserves a Slurpee. With his goal last game, he’s upped his stat line to 7G/11A. Will he duplicate his luck with another one tonight or does he get to the back of the line and hand off the one-goal stick to someone like Reid Boucher?
  • It’s clear hits aren’t winning games for the Canucks this season despite having a few defenders in the Top-50 in that category in Michael Del Zotto and Alex Edler. Darren Archibald and Alex Biega are tied for 15th in Hits/GP with 3.1. Imagine if they averaged a 0.25/goals per game? Wow, that would be something. Sorry for getting you excited there.
  • Brendan Leipsic’s efforts have been stymied lately and it feels like he’s on the cusp of some good luck. He’s one of maybe three players on the Canucks right now that can’t be overly questioned about their work ethic and creativity. He has a home in Vancouver with his potential and it might take a training camp with a few familiar faces to get things the way they need to be. No Boeser but Leipsic is fun to watch and against a Blackhawks team that has shown some dazzle themselves, he may shine.
  • The future may be blurry for Alex Edler but this season he has put up a respectable 28 points which are good for his sixth-best season. It’s respectable because 28 points on this team look like a struggle to get that far. Any points on the back end most likely will be coming from him or maybe Del Zotto. He’s suffered like many of the older Canucks but he hasn’t been their worst player.
  • Vancouver has six PPG in their last 10 games. Three of those came against the Sharks, two versus the Predators, and a lone goal against the Rangers. When the power play is on, it’s really on but the other seven games were big fat zeros. Thankfully, the Blackhawks PK is as bad as the Canucks so it could be feast night.

THE TWITTER TAKE

Dear Trevor Linden, please send Fin or a facsimile in his place. We need this Rasmus guy.

MY 94 CENTS

The season is winding down and so is the Canucks’ gameplay as of late. Tuesday’s game against Vegas was a strict departure from the San Jose game last Saturday so it’s anyone’s guess as to which Canucks team shows up tonight. The optimist in me says there is something left in the tank and the Canucks make a game of it, the pessimist in me says they’ll give up the lead before they show the line combinations on the screen, and the realist in me says Vancouver will be lucky to escape this game without shame.

It’s a dark time right now but if anyone could bring out a spark in the Canucks, it’s the Blackhawks. With nothing on the line for either team, it could be a good old fashion hitfest.

OVER / UNDER

Sedins Average TOI (+/- 16:30)     Both Sedins have been in the 16-17 minute range the last five games with a few outlying games 15 minutes and under. Green seems to be using them a bit more sparingly so going under on this one would be safe.

Patrick Kane Goals (+/- 0.5)     With only two goals in his last 13 games, Patrick Kane isn’t a lightning rod for goals lately. The Hawks also have the unfortunate privilege of resting this post-season and Kane’s goals will no doubt be back next season. As for tonight, don’t expect him to be lighting the lamp. Then again, it is the Canucks we’re talking about.

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