|Apr 22 '13|
|Feb 19 '13||VAN 3 at CHI 4 - SO||A. Shaw|
|Feb 01 '13||CHI 1 at VAN 2 - SO||J. Schroeder|
I can't remember the last time I was this unexcited for a game against the hated Canucks. I am sure once the game starts and the two teams exchange pleasantries, that will change. If Saturday night's Coyotes game brought back playoff anger and excitement, tonight's game should do the same. The Blackhawks can take away the only trophy that they know how to win in Vancouver tonight. At least one point, coupled with a Penguins regulation loss at the Senators, will give the Hawks the President's Trophy. I know I have called the President's Trophy "meaningless", and it is, unless you win the Stanley Cup. Some people are worried that it is a curse, but this team isn't going to be derailed by any kind of silly myth. Getting home ice advantage in every series of the playoffs is a very good thing, especially in the Stanley Cup Final, should we get there. Patrick Sharp has made the trip to Western Canada but was taking shifts with the "fifth line" in practice today, so don't expect him out there tonight. Otherwise the lines were the same today and they were on Saturday, including Jamal Mayers on the 4th line. Corey Crawford was the first one off the ice so he will be starting tonight. Ray Emery participated fully in practice, so he should be on the bench tonight. If I had to guess, Razor will most likely start Wednesday in Edmonton and Saturday in St. Louis.
The Canucks still have plenty to play for, and can do some clinching of their own. Vancouver will wrap up another Northwest Division title with one point against the Hawks and the top 3 seed that comes with it. The Nucks are not playing their best hockey of the year down the stretch. They have just one regulation win in their last five games. The recent poor play has pretty much cost them any chance they had at surpassing the Ducks for the 2 seed. It is becoming more and more likely that we will see the Canucks and Blues square off in the first round. Pass me the popcorn because that will be must see TV which the amount of on ice douchebaggery that will occur. It pains me to say it, but I would be rooting for Vancouver in that series. Keith Ballard will miss tonight's game, not that anyone would have noticed. except for the penalty box attendant. Frank Corrado has been called up from the Chicago Wolves and will make his NHL debut in his place. Cory Schneider will make the start in net tonight. Vancouver's Cory has not had great regular season success against the Hawks going 1-1-1 with a 3.67 GAA and .900 save % in his career. In all honestly, I don't expect to see too much of the extra curricular stuff we are used to from these two teams so close to the playoffs. But then again, the famous Alexandre Burrows hair pulling incident happened just a couple of weeks before the playoffs started in 2009, so who knows.
Probable Blackhawks lineups
Patrick Sharp (upper body) OUT, Michal Rozsival (upper body) questionable
Corey Crawford 18-4-5, 1.99 GAA, .924 save %, 3 SO
Probable Canucks lineup
Cory Schneider 16-9-4, 2.15 GAA, .926 save %, 5 SO
Keith Ballard (back) OUT
|Hair puller, finger biter||45||13||11||24||16||52||1||2|