Game Preview : Keep Your Enemies Closer

Rich Lam

Chicago Blackhawks (13 pts 6-0-1) @ Vancouver Canucks (8 pts 3-2-2), 9 PM Rogers Arena - Vancouver BC TV: CSN Chicago+ Radio: WGN 720 AM

Tonight should be a fun one as the Hawks renew their rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks. Be prepared for an influx of Nucks fans in here today, some good, some trolls. Speaking of trolls, Dave Bolland will get to say hello to his favorite siblings, the Sedins, this evening. Tonight is the first meeting between the two clubs since Duncan Keith elbowed one of the Sedins in the head last April. I can't remember if it was Hank or Dank (who cares?) but it cost the Canucks the Stanley Cup last year. Yeah, that was it was Nucks fans! Duncs will have to keep his head on a swivel tonight and be aware of where the hair pulling, finger biting bitch Alexandre Burrows is at all times. The Blackhawks will try and rebound from their first lost of the season in Minnesota on Wednesday. The penalty kill remains out of this world. Special teams are always a major factor when these two team get together. Hopefully the Hawks play a smart game and it doesn't resemble the first meeting of the year last season, where the Chicago penalty box door was a revolving one.

Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault has turned the goalie situation into a complete hot mess. Our old friend and resident scapegoat Roberto Luongo will get his 3rd straight start tonight. Cory Schneider was anointed the starter during the summer but he lost his job after only 4 starts. GM Mike Gillis all but announced Bobby Lu's exit from Vancouver a few days ago and now his brilliant coach has made him the #1 goalie. I can't imagine Gillis and AV have the greatest of relationships right now. I am willing to bet they make Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams look like Ozzie & Harriet these days! The Canucks have been ok on the ice this year. They are definitely missing their best all around player Ryan Kesler, who is recovering from shoulder and wrist surgeries. Vancouver has received a giant boost from Zack Kassian, who some might have gotten acquainted with during the lockout as he played for the Chicago Wolves. He has already scored 5 goals and added some toughness to the Canucks lineup.

Chicago Blackhawks probable lineup:

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger- Michael Frolik

Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Sheldon Brookbank - Nick Leddy

Goaltender

Corey Crawford 5-0-1, 1.79 GAA, .931 %, 0 SO

Injuries

Michal Rozsival (knee) questionable, Daniel Carcillo (knee) OUT

Leading Scorers:

Patrick Kane 10 pts (2 G, 8 A)
Marian Hossa 9 pts (5 G, 4 A)
Jonathan Toews 7 pts (4 G,3 A)
Patrick Sharp 6pts (2 G, 4 A)
Nick Leddy 5 pts (1 G, 4 A)

Vancouver Canucks probable lineup:

Fowards

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Zack Kassian

Chris Higgins - Alexandre Burrows - Jannik Hansen

Mason Raymond - Jordan Schroeder - Dale Weise

Maxim Lapierre - Manny Malhotra- Aaron Volpatti

Defensive Pairings

Jason Garrison - Kevin Bieksa

Dan Hamhuis - Alexander Edler

Keith Ballard - Chris Tanev

Goaltender

Roberto Luongo 1-0-2, 1.61 GAA, .938 save %, 1 SO

Injuries

Ryan Kesler (shoulder/wrist) OUT, David Booth (groin) OUT

Leading Scorers:

Daniel Sedin 6 pts (2 G, 4 A)
Alexander Edler 6 pts (2 G, 4 A)
Zack Kassian 5 pts (5 G, 0 A)
Dan Hamhuis 5pts (1 G, 4 A)
Henrik Sedin 4 pts (0 G, 4 A)

STATS
7 GP 7
6 W 3
0 L 2
1 OT 2
13 P 8
0.929 P% 0.571
3.43 G/G 2.57
2.14 GA/G 2.43
25.0 PP% 18.9
96.3 PK% 73.3
29.1 S/G 28.3
26.9 SA/G 29.0
50.6 FO% 47.2
courtesy of NHL.com
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