After two hard fought, back-to-back games against some tough Central division opponents in St. Louis and Nashville, the Vancouver Canucks have the opportunity tonight to continue the trend against their old foe, the Chicago Blackhawks.
While Monday night’s game in St. Louis was relatively tame, the matchup between the Canucks and Predators was anything but amiable. Aside from the questionable “hit” from Alex Burrows (more on that later) and the near decapitation of Radim Vrbata, both teams were clearly looking to mix things up. Heck, even Pekka Rinne took a shot at the lovable Bo Horvat!
There are many leather-bound chronicles of the Canucks/Blackhawks matchup, so it shouldn’t take long for two teams well acquainted with each other to light some fireworks.
Game Time: 5:30 pm
TV: Sportsnet Pacific
Much has been made of the Canucks’ record against the basement dwellers around the league, but in games against some of the NHL’s elite teams, they’ve been pretty impressive. Well, Chicago is considered by many to be a one of the better teams in the West and their record corroborates that. Ipso facto, Vancouver should play well and grab at least a point. We’ll see how well this theory holds up.
1. No Suspension For Burrows
The biggest story coming out of Tuesday night’s game with Nashville was not the gutsy come from behind shootout win, but the questionable hit Alex Burrows laid on Paul Gaustad late in the the 3rd period. Many believed that with his history and “reputation”, Burrows would be suspended by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety regardless of whether or not he deserved to be.
The NHL released today that Burrows would not face any further discipline after receiving a five minute major and a game misconduct for interference during the game. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the call on the ice, but I’m glad to see the league didn’t feel it warranted a suspension. There are a number of people outside of Vancouver that are not pleased with the verdict though…
If it's true there's no suspension to Alex Burrows, I truly don't understand what a player has to do to get suspended. This is ridiculous.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) April 1, 2015
2. Depth Scoring
With Linden Vey scoring on Tuesday evening, the Canucks boosted the number of their double-digit goal scorers to 11. Going into this season, there were questions, as there have been for years, swirling around the secondary scoring. While it’s been dry at times, it is hard to argue that the Canucks have not backed up the Sedins nicely.
Perhaps one area of criticism would be regarding the scoring from the Canucks defencemen. Yannick Weber currently leads all blue liners with 9 goals, but only one more defenceman (Alex Edler) has more than 3. If Vancouver can get some more help from the backend down the stretch and into the playoffs, it could really make for a well rounded offence.
3. Power Play Heating Up
Don’t look now, but the Canucks’ power play is starting to heat up. Sure, even a pulse would have been appreciated after the absolute travesty it has been all season, but in the last 7 games, opposing penalties truly have been a Vancouver advantage.
Since the 4-1 win against LA on March 21st, the Canucks are 7-for-17 (41.2%) and have scored a power play marker in every game, save for the game against St. Louis in which they only had one chance. Once again, it would be found money if the Canucks can even remotely replicate this success as the regular season dwindles down and the playoffs approach.
With Miller, Richardson, and Kassian still out, it’s likely the Canucks will start the same lineup from their two wins in St. Louis and Nashville.
Desjardins addressing if he's worried Lack cld get tired. "There's guys that are playing 25-30 games in a row now…" #Canucks
— Omar A (@omarcanuck) April 2, 2015
And it doesn’t sound like Willie Desjardins is getting nervous about overplaying Eddie Lack.
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Burrows|
It stands to reason that the Canucks will win this game if for no other reason than the Chicago Blackhawks are a good hockey team. Losses to Colorado and Dallas were followed up by inspiring performances against the Blues and Predators, so why not finish off the non-wild card Central division playoff teams with a bang. With noted Canuck killer Patrick Kane still out of the lineup, I’ll take Vancouver by a score of 4-2.