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Here It Goes, Here It Goes, Here It Goes Again: Canucks @ Blackhawks Game Preview

March 5, 2010

Game Time: 7:30 PM CST
TV/Radio: RIS, CSN-CH / WGN (720-AM)
The Poor Unfortunate Souls: Nucks Misconduct

Stat Pack:

Blackhawks Canucks
L10
6-3-1 6-4-0
Record at Home: 24-6-2 on the Road: 16-15-1
PP% 19.9% (7th) 21.7% (5th)
PK 84.5% (5th) 81.0% (T-18th)

During last summer’s surprising postseason run, the Blackhawks fucked over two Canadian teams. This season, one of those teams continued to figuratively bend themselves over the kitchen sink with pants down whenever they faced the Hawks, as if to say, “You weren’t spanking hard enough yet.”

The team the Blackhawks face tonight is not that team.

Certainly, the Canucks are still sour about that WC Semi-Finals Game 6 free-for-all. In Ryan Kesler’s own words:

“They took something from us that the other 28 teams didn’t. We’re still upset. Everybody still remembers the feeling after Game 6.”

They’ve been out for blood since, and unlike a certain other Canadian team, they’ve certainly looked it. This is the fourth and final meeting between both teams, whose loathing of each other goes back to last season. The Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead in the first game but Willie Mitchell’s open-ice hit on Jonathan Toews deflated the team and led to the Canucks stealing 2 points in the United Center. While the Blackhawks did win the second meeting, they were severely outshot, kept in by Antti Niemi standing on his head and Bryan Bickell deflecting a dirty goal past Roberto Luongo. The third meeting was more of a shellacking–despite 44 shots on goal, the Blackhawks could only muster 1 goal while Antti Niemi, who let in 3 goals on 12 shots in the first period, was pulled for Cristobal Huet. He kept the second period scoreless but let 2 in during the third for a final 5-1 loss.

The Canucks have resumed their 14-game road trip after the Olympic break and are looking as sharp as they have ever been, though I think this can be attributed to their tendency to play better in the second half of the season. Whereas 2009 saw them hold a 3-7-0 record against Central Division teams, for instance, in 2010 they are an impressive 6-1-0, including a come-from-behind overtime win against the Blue Jackets and a dominant 6-3 game against the Red Wings just this week. Neither Kevin Bieksa or Willie Mitchell dressed for those games either. And when they skate into the United Center tonight, you can be assured they’re looking for a dominating performance and a season series win against the Blackhawks.

One can only hope, of course, that the Hawks are more than just ready for this, because winning this game wouldn’t just be a matter of showing up to play. The Canucks can legitimately outplay the Blackhawks, both in shutting the team down to lower their scoring chances (not necessarily their shots), and in finding the holes in the Hawks’ defense to capitalize, and capitalize greatly. It doesn’t help that the Canucks’ Duck-Duck-Goose line (Sedin, Sedin, Alexandre Motherfucking Burrows) are having career years. Did you know Burrows is 2 goals short of 30 now? He’s got more goals than the twins or anyone on our team, including Patrick Kane. In what sort of distorted universe does a hair-puller get off with a near-thirty-goal season?

Maybe I would feel better about this if I knew for a fact that the Blackhawks are in fine form and are at the top of their game, but it’s March, the doldrums of the season, and the team’s performance in their last two games against teams like the Islanders and the Oilers have left a bitter taste in my mouth. They nearly let the Edmonton “Fuck this season, we’re going after Taylor Hall” Oilers get away with a win after two periods of dreadful play, but hopefully we’ll see more of their third-period skating tonight. If it helps, it looks like Marian Hossa and David Bolland are beginning to develop chemistry with each other, and Troy Brouwer is not a bad fit on their line. The coaching staff has stopped placing Byfuglien on the point during power plays, and his new place in front of the net (hello, Luongo, old friend) has netted him 2 PPG in the last 2 games.

Hopefully these are signs of better things to come, of course. And hopefully they come soon. Like, say, tonight.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 11:55 AM

    Hahaha that’s probably the best intro I’ve ever read.

    • chiblackhawks permalink*
      March 5, 2010 1:23 PM

      If Ryan Kesler didn’t make it sound like we raped them the image wouldn’t have been in my head. So yeah, I guess that’s one good thing to come out of Ryan Kesler… haha.

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