We don't need to tell you how big this game is. When the Hawks were losing 5 games in a row, the Canucks were winning 4. So even though it looked like the Hawks had 4th pretty well locked up they're now in a fight for home ice.
As I've said before, it's more fun this way.
So today the Hawks have probably their biggest game of the regular season. Sure the Classic was fun but this game actually means something. The Hawks are two points up on Vancouver with a game in hand. So the odds favor the Hawks right now but this is still a statement game the Hawks need to win.
Playoff implications aside, this is still a game the Hawks should come out angry. The last time these two teams played each other was one of the worst games for the Hawks all year. The Hawks PK was non-existent letting in 4 power play goals for the Canucks. It was a game that would have been frustrating if it hadn't been so damn comical. Any game where you can follow up the phrase "well, the 5-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in all of hockey" with "actually, nothing is more dangerous than the dreaded 6-goal lead" is a sign that you should just continue drinking.
So obviously a key for the Hawks should be staying out of the box. Or if they do take a penalty, they shouldn't let that bald-headed swede hang out by the net alone.
They should also keep these two off their games and away from small children.
This picture is even more disturbing than those A-Rod shots that came out recently.
The Nucks have been hot since the start of February but have begun to show signs of letting up. They're nearing the end of a 6 game road trip where they've gone 2-2-0 so far. This is their 3rd game in 4 days and they've done a lot of odd traveling recently (Phoenix to Dallas to St. Louis to Denver to Chicago) so the odds are again in the Hawks favor.
There's a possibility the Canucks can beat the free-falling Flames for first in the Northeast, but the Hawks need to treat this game like it's a preview for the playoffs and come out and punch the Nucks in the jaw and not let up all game.
The big question for the Hawks, who is the odd man out? Eager is due to return and Burish, Buff and Fraser all could sit for this one. Smart money is on either Burish or Buff though. I'd go with Burish sitting this one - He hasn't been scoring like he did when he returned from injury (though no one expected him to do that anyway), I can't even remember the last time he was in a fight and he hasn't played with his usual intensity. Maybe having him watching a few games would do him some good.
Luongo was given the night off on Friday so he's well rested and always gives the Hawks trouble (unlike every other team, right?). Khabby is probably getting the go for the Hawks again after finally breaking back into form in the second and third periods of the last game. It'll be a fun one...
Lets Go Hawks