Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Blackhawks (2.19.13)
|Team Record: 8-3-3
Last Game: 3-4 SO/L vs St. Louis (FEB.17.13)
Season Series: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 2-1 SO/W (FEB.01.13)
|Team Record: 12-0-3
Last Game: 3-2 W vs Los Angeles (FEB.17.13)
Season Series: 0-0-1
Last Meeting: 1-2 SO/L (FEB.01.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (8-3-3) open a four-game road trip tonight at the United Center facing off against the NHL's top team, the Chicago Blackhawks (12-0-3).What You Need to Know
- Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Blackhawks this season. Vancouver drew first blood in the season series by scoring a 2-1 shootout win at Rogers Arena back on February 1. Canucks D Alex Edler had a goal in regulation while F Jordan Schroeder scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout that night.
- Canucks F David Booth could make his season-debut tonight. He missed the first 14 games of the season with a groin injury. To make room for Booth on the roster, Vancouver placed F Andrew Ebbett on waivers yesterday.
- The Canucks bring a two-game road win streak into tonight's contest. They've earned points in four of five games away from Rogers Arena so far this season (3-1-1).
- The Blackhawks are in the midst of a season-high seven-game home stand. They played just two of their 12 first games of the season at home prior to this stretch.
- The Canucks earned points in both games they played at the United Center last season finishing with a record of 1-0-1. G Roberto Luongo started both games and allowed just four goals on 77 shots. In fact, the Canucks and Luongo are undefeated in regulation in their last four regular season trips to the United Center (2-0-2).
- Vancouver will likely name their starting goaltender for tonight's game on the morning of game day. Luongo owns one win against the Blackhawks this season but is coming off a rare defeat after allowing more than two goals in a game for the first time this season on Sunday in the 4-3 shootout loss to St. Louis.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider has only made one career start at the United Center. It came in Game 6 of the 2011 Western Conference quarterfinals. He lasted just over two periods in that game before being forced to leave with an injury.
- The Canucks are one of only three teams this season that have prevented the Blackhawks from earning the full two points in a game. The other two are the Wild and the Ducks.
- Chicago's streak of 15 straight games with at least a point to start the season is a franchise record (it shattered their old record of seven games) and is just one shy of equaling the league record of 16 games set by the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks started the 2006.07 season with a 12-0-4 and went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. Coincidentally, the final outing of that 16-game run for the Ducks was a 6-0 win over Vancouver.
- With Blackhawks G Corey Crawford currently sidelined, G Ray Emery will likely get the start against the Canucks. If he does, it would be just his second career start versus Vancouver and his first since January 18, 2007 when he was with the Ottawa Senators.
Tonight's game faces off at 5:30 pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They get back to playing solid 5-on-5 hockey. Vancouver has only allowed 17 goals playing 5-on-5 this season but seven of those have come in their last two outings. Facing a Blackhawks team that has been dominant 5-on-5, they'll need to make sure this part of their game gets back to the level it was at about a week ago.
- They embrace the spoiler role. The Canucks have a recent history of snapping record-setting streaks, with the most recent one being last season when the broke Detroit's 23-game home win streak. They should be fired up to try and prevent one of their biggest rivals from earning a place in the NHL's record books.
- They get a boost from Booth. For the second time in three games the Canucks will be welcoming back a significant contributor back to the lineup. They could sure use some of his offensive ability as well considering that, during this two-game winless skid, they have only gotten one even-strength goal from a line outside of the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows.
The Blackhawks Win If...
- They come out on top after the first period. The Blackhawks are atop the league in wins when leading after the first 20 minutes of play with a record 10-0-1. It certainly helps when 38 percent of their goals (19-of-50) have come in first periods.
- They don't think about the record. It's often said that the tying a record is harder than breaking it. Chicago is on the verge of owning a piece of NHL history if they can get a point in tonight's game to make it 16 straight games with a point to start the season but they can't let that become their sole focus tonight.
- Keith and Seabrook continue to spark the offence. Chicago's top defense pairing has come to life in the last two games combining for one goal and seven points. The Blackhawks' potent offence is even more deadly when these two dynamic D-men get in on the act.
Ones to Watch
There was a lot of hype surrounding David Booth prior to the start of the season with many fans hoping to see if the 28-year-old would be able to take his game to another level now that he's had some time to familiarize himself with the organization. Unfortunately, a groin injury at training camp meant his highly anticipated season debut had to wait.
But it looks like the team's most exciting player from last season will finally get a chance to get back into the swing of things tonight as he is expected to return and not a moment too soon with Vancouver suddenly finding themselves in a mini-slump. The Canucks enjoyed a fair bit of success when Booth contributed offensively last season going 11-2-2 in games where he scored a goal.
Booth recorded 16 goals and 29 points in 56 games after being acquired via trade by the Canucks last season but offensive consistency will be what fans are hoping to see from him this year. He only managed five goals and seven points in the final 25 regular season games of the year and was held to one assist in five playoff outings.
There were a lot of critics of Patrick Kane last season after the former first overall pick in 2007 finished with a career-low 66 points despite playing in a full 82-game season. It seems Kane took those negative comments to heart over the off-season and is focused on silencing those critics.
The 24-year-old is off to a flying start this season leading his team in both goals (9) and points (21) playing mostly on a line with Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland. It's not just his offensive game that has been impressive as he's earned praise for his play away from the puck as well – something else that he was previously criticized for.
Kane is coming off a rare point-less outing on Sunday against the Kings – a game that snapped his eight-game point streak. He'll try to begin a new streak tonight facing the Canucks, a team that he has scored one goal in one game against so far this season. Kane has eight goals and 17 points in 21 career games versus Vancouver.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.