The Vancouver Canucks (25-13-7) can clinch the Northwest Division title tonight when they play host to hated rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks (34-5-5), at Rogers Arena.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The Canucks play the second game of their three-game home stand tonight and are looking to pick up their eighth consecutive win at Rogers Arena after earning a 2-1 shootout victory over Detroit in their last outing on Saturday night.
- Vancouver has not won eight in a row on home ice since an 11-game home win streak from February 3 to March 19, 2009.
- The Blackhawks are starting a short two-game road trip tonight that will wrap up on Wednesday in Edmonton. They're coming off a rare shootout loss on Saturday against the Coyotes – a loss that snapped their seven-game win streak. However, they still have a streak of 11 straight games with at least a point earned (9-0-2) intact coming into action tonight.
- The Canucks officially clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Red Wings on Saturday and have an opportunity to officially clinch the Northwest Division championship tonight. All they need is a single point from tonight's contest to seal the deal and win their fifth consecutive division title.
- Tonight marks the third and final regular season meeting between the Canucks and Blackhawks this year. The season series is currently tied at one win each with both teams having earned shootout victories over the other.
- Canucks D Keith Ballard left Saturday's game after tweaking his back. Although the injury is not expected to be serious, he will likely be a game-time decision. The Canucks are already missing D Chris Tanev and D Kevin Bieksa. If Ballard can't go, D Derek Joslin could make his Canuck debut. There's also a possibility that 20-year-old D Frank Corrado could summoned to Vancouver from Chicago (AHL) and make his NHL debut as well tonight.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider, fresh off a 33-save performance on Saturday against Detroit, is expected make his second appearance in the season series against Chicago tonight. He was in net the last time these teams met back on February 19. He made 40 saves on 43 shots but his team fell 4-3 in a shootout.
- Blackhawks G Corey Crawford is the likely starter tonight especially with G Ray Emery currently sidelined with a lower body injury. Crawford started the first meeting between the Canucks and Blackhawks this season on February 1 making 21 saves on 22 shots but his team fell short in a shootout dropping a 2-1 decision.
- Both the Canucks and Blackhawks would love it if tonight's game turned out to be a playoff preview. Based on where the teams are currently in the standings, the earliest they would likely meet against would be in the Western Conference Final.
- Canucks F Daniel (1-2-3) and Henrik Sedin (0-3-3) lead all players in the season series with three points each. No Blackhawks player has more than two points against the Canucks this season.
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