Game 25: Canucks vs. Blackhawks (11.23.13)
There was no better time than last night for the Canucks to finally find their stride on offence seeing as how they'll need as much confidence as they could possibly have tonight facing the highest scoring team in the league in Chicago. It was an especially good sign for Canucks fans to see their top line players – namely Daniel and Henrik Sedin – producing like elite players again as the twins combined for three goals and five points in the win over the Blue Jackets.
The twins, along with the rest of the team, will need to be at the top of their game again tonight when they take on a Blackhawks team that is looking like a Cup contender once again. Chicago has the league's fourth-best winning percentage coming into play tonight although they've alternated wins and losses over their last four outings. They are coming off a 6-3 win in Winnipeg on Thursday are looking to win consecutive games for the first time in a week. Despite playing and winning last night against Columbus, don't be surprised if Roberto Luongo gets the start against Chicago. Corey Crawford will likely be between the pipes for the Blackhawks.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on CBC, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Start strong. A big reason the Canucks went 2-0-1 against the Blackhawks last season was because they opened the scoring in each of their three head-to-head games. Chicago is 13-0-3 this season when scoring first so Vancouver can ill-afford a slow start like they had yesterday.
Be prepared for a tight game. As much as it's nice to see the Canucks push the pace on offence, chances are if this game turns into a track meet it's not going to go well for the Canucks. That being said, if they find themselves getting some early offensive success, they have to find a way to batten down the hatches.
Crawford gets back to form. Corey Crawford has four wins in his last six outings but his save percentage during that time is a rather pedestrian .818 (20 goals on 110 shots). Vancouver isn't exactly firing on all cylinders lately but Chicago will still need Crawford to keep the puck out of his net more often than he has in recent games.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks this season when Daniel Sedin scores a goal (7-1-0).
Goal needed by Daniel Sedin for 300 in his NHL career.
Straight home wins for the Canucks over the Blackhawks in head-to-head meetings dating back to Jan. 31, 2012.
Average goals per game for the Blackhawks this season, well up from 3.10 average of last season.
Straight games with a point earned for the Canucks against the Blackhawks in head-to-head meetings dating back to Jan. 31, 2012 (3-0-2).
Points for ex-Blackhawk Ryan Stanton this season, one behind Bieksa for the team-lead among defencemen.