Canucks, Hawks looking like West powers again
The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks heading into Wednesday night's game appear to be closely resembling the form they displayed in their pitched playoff battles of recent years.
Chicago pays its first visit to Rogers Arena since the exciting Game 7 game in April that saw them bow out in overtime on an Alex Burrows goal for the Canucks.
The Blackhawks are entering the first leg of its annual six-game road trip due to the circus in Chicago, leading the Western Conference but also a bit banged up.
Chicago was trounced at home just 10 days ago by Vancouver (9-8-1).
The Canucks went 5-for-6 on the power play and scored four second-period goals in a 6-2 victory at the United Center on Nov. 6. Henrik Sedin earned a career high four points, David Booth got his first points in a Vancouver uniform, and Roberto Luongo made 38 saves.
The Blackhawks followed that up with a shutout loss to St. Louis, but since then have won three in a row, outscoring their opposition 16-7 in the process.
Luongo was ruled out Tuesday for the return affair due to an upper-body injury.
Backup Cory Schneider has a 3.96 goals-against average in four career appearances against Chicago.
Chicago defender Duncan Keith sat out the first meeting against the Canucks (11-4-3), but this time around it will likely be Brent Seabrook who is absent on the team's blue-line.
Seabrook crashed hard into the boards with a lower-body injury in the team's last game, a 6-3 win over Edmonton, and coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday was pessimistic about his immediate return for the Canucks.
Forward Dave Bolland is questionable for the game.
The Blackhawks rank near the bottom of the NHL at 13.2 percent on the power play.
Vancouver has won three of four following a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday, getting a goal and two assists from new offensive star Aaron Rome.
The defenceman has three goals in four games since returning from injury. He scored two goals in 131 career regular-season games prior to this run.
In addition to the rich playoff history, most of the Canucks remember well a 7-1 thrashing on the same sheet of ice almost exactly one year ago. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Marian Hossa added three assists.
With files from CBCSports.ca