The Vancouver Canucks had a huge win 6-2 last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets – their first win in 5 games (1-2-2) – and inched back to within 4 points back of a playoff position in the tough Western Conference.
The Canucks, who are 2-3-3 in their last 8 games, are hoping that last night’s game was a bit of a turning point, but a win tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks won’t come easy. The Blackhawks, who beat the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg by a 6-3 score on Thursday, have lost just 3 of their last 12 games, though 2 of those losses came on the road.
This is the first of three meetings this season between the two teams. Nothing like a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada showdown to ignite their longtime rivalry. Tonight’s game should be intense, and it should be interesting to see the impact coach John Tortorella will have on these often-heated games.
The Canucks are looking to maintain some momentum after last night’s offensive outburst against the Blue Jackets. They 6 goals they scored matched their total from their previous 5 games combined. The Sedins played particularly well, especially after Torts reunited them after a brief period apart, and they combined for 5 points. Without Dave Bolland to pester them all game, they should see some time against Chicago’s top line.
For the Blackhawks, this is game 3 of their 7 game-road trip. They’ve broke even so far with a loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday before their win in Winnipeg on Thursday.
Forward Patrick Kane leads the team with 24 points, 13 of which have come in his last 9 games. Marian Hossa returned to the Blackhawks lineup Thursday after nursing a lower body injury for 3 games, and promptly scored a goal and added an assist.
Jordan Schroeder remains out with an ankle injury. And also, speculation continues to surround David Booth as he was again a healthy scratch last night.
Chicago’s Bryan Bickell and Nikolai Khabibulin are both out with lower body injuries, and Michal Handzus is on injured reserve with an upper body injury.