Saturday, February 7, 2009

Canucks/Hawks Game Day

Tonight is the third of four meetings this season between the Canucks and Blackhawks. The Canucks have taken points in four of their last five games while the Hawks have won four of their last five. Chicago leads the season series 2-0-0. Henrik Sedin (1g,1a), Pavol Demitra (1g), and Daniel Sedin (1g) lead the Canucks in scoring while Patrick Sharp (3g,1a), Patrick Kane (2g,2a), and Jonathan Toews (1g,2a) lead the Hawks.

Goalie Christobal Huet has been a big difference maker in the head-to-head meetings. He's allowed three goals against on 61 totals shots (1.50GAA & 96.0Sv%) and he'll get the start tonight. For what it's worth, Demitra has averaged a point-per-game in his career against Chicago (45GP-24g,27a=51pts).

One game time decision for the Canucks which will see either Kyle Wellwood or Mason Raymond in the line-up on a line with Alex Burrows and Steve Bernier. Wellwood has been fighting the flu and I think will likely play, attempting to break out of a nine-game goal scoring slump. If Raymond draws in, he'll be searching for his first goal in 13 games.

Daniel Sedin, despite leading the team in points (22g,27a), has gone five straight games without a goal. It's not his longest goal-less drought of the season though as he went seven straight without scoring in October. Henrik Sedin is currently riding a five-game point scoring streak (1g,5a). Their linemate Taylor Pyatt, since returning from his injury last month, has scored just two goals in seven straight games.

The Hawks will go with the same line-up as their 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Passing the midway point of eight straight games on the road, the Hawks are 11-0-0 against Canadian-based teams this season. Eight players on the Hawks roster have 30+ points while nine players are in double digits in the plus category.

Here are the expected line-ups for both clubs:

D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Pyatt
Demitra - Sundin - Kesler
Burrows - Wellwood/Raymond - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Hansen

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - Davison



Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Troy Brouwer - Kris Versteeg - Dustin Byfuglien
Andrew Ladd - Dave Bolland - Martin Havlat
Ben Eager - Colin Fraser - Adam Burish

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell - Matt Walker
Cam Barker - James Wisniewski

Christobal Huet
Nikolai Khabibulin

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