Game to watch: Canucks at Blackhawks
By Allan Muir
Canucks at Blackhawks: 7:30 CST, CSN Chicago, Sportsnet Pacific
The Blackhawks are playing the fourth night of their season-high seven-game homestand. A win or OT loss will make it 16 games from the start of the season with at least one point, tying the NHL record set in 2006-07 by the Anaheim Ducks. For the Canucks, this is the opener of a four-game road trip, and they're hoping to recover after dropping a pair at home to the Blues and Stars.
Keys to the game
• Blackhawks: Put the record out of mind and continue to play the gritty, high intensity game that got them to this point. Getting on the board early would help. They're 10-0-1 when leading after the first period.
• Canucks: Finding their footing at five-on-five. They've allowed just 17 full-strength goals this season, but seven of them came in the last two games. The Hawks are one of the league's best at five-on-five, so there's little room for error here.
• Probable starting goalies: Ray Emery (5-0-0, 2.17, .929) vs. Roberto Luongo (4-0-3, 1.63, .934)
• Ray Emery: The backup is starting in place of injured Corey Crawford (upper body) and has a save percentage of .944 over his last four games.
• Jonathan Toews: Eight points in his last six games, with a season-high six shots against Los Angeles.
• Chicago's defense: The Hawks' GAA is 1.87, tops in the league.
• Henrik Sedin: Coming off a franchise-record-setting performance against Dallas, the team's new all-time scoring leader now has four points in his last two games.
• Roberto Luongo: Life as a putative backup suits him. He has a 1.33 GAA and .944 save percentage over his last five games. He's also 2-0-2 in his last four trips to the United Center.
• Alex Burrows: Rebounding from a slow start, he has five points in his last five games.
• Marian Hossa: Just one goal in his last 11 games after scoring five in his first four.
• Viktor Stalberg: Pointless in four games, with just one goal in his last 12.
• Jason Garrison: This key free agent signing was pulled off the power play and has scored just two points so far.
The teams met in Vancouver on Feb. 1, with the Canucks coming out on top, 2-1, in the shootout. Chicago's power play was dismal, going 0-5 and failing to register a shot with the extra man during the final 71 seconds of overtime. The unit is starting to get its groove back, which could pose a problem for a Vancouver team that's ranked 20th on the PK.