The Vancouver Canucks made easy work of the Chicago Blackhawks in the rivals' first matchup of the season, excelling on special teams in a dominating victory.
The clubs meet again Wednesday night as Chicago enters the first leg of its annual six-game circus trip, leading the Western Conference but also a bit banged up.
Vancouver (9-8-1) 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. The Canucks held the Blackhawks scoreless in five opportunities with the man advantage and Roberto Luongo stopped 38 shots.
Luongo, however, won't be between the pipes Wednesday because of an upper-body injury. That means backup Cory Schneider, who has a 3.96 goals-against average in four career appearances against Chicago - two of which came in relief of Luongo in last season's playoffs - will get the call.
This rivalry, which only grew with that physical seven-game thriller, remained the same earlier this month as the teams combined for 56 penalty minutes.
Duncan Keith sat out the first meeting, and the Blackhawks (11-4-3) may be without another top defenseman Wednesday.
Brent Seabrook crashed hard into the boards and left Sunday's 6-3 win over Edmonton with a lower-body injury. He is day to day, according to coach Joel Quenneville.
Dave Bolland's status is also uncertain after he missed the past three games with a lower-body injury.
"It's obviously a void with all the quality ice time and in all situations (Seabrook plays)," Quenneville told the team's official website. "He absorbs those type of minutes and you appreciate what he provides you."
Despite the injuries, Chicago heads into its trip on a three-game winning streak, outscoring the opposition 16-7 during that span. Jonathan Toews and Steve Montador - a defenseman who has seen time at forward on the power play in recent games - each scored twice Sunday.
``It's great for everyone's confidence to see different guys score,'' Toews said. ``I don't think it matters to anybody who scores as long as we find a way.''
The Blackhawks will look to extend their momentum during the two-week trek while the circus occupies the United Center. They went 4-2-0 last year and 4-1-1 in 2009, with each of those trips including victories over Vancouver.
Chicago beat the Canucks 7-1 on Nov. 20 as Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Marian Hossa added three assists. The Blackhawks went 1 for 8 on the power play, however, something that has been a recurring problem in their recent trips to Vancouver.
Chicago is 2 for 44 with the man advantage in its last 11 games there. The Blackhawks rank near the bottom of the NHL at 13.2 percent on the power play.
The Canucks are second in the league at 26.7 percent and have scored a power-play goal in each of their last five games. They've won three of four following a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday, getting a goal and two assists from Aaron Rome.
The defenseman has three goals in four games since returning from injury. He scored two goals in 131 career regular-season games prior to this run.
``When you play with confidence you don't really think about what you're doing, you maybe get back to the game that you played when you were younger," Rome said. "I played in offensive situations at all levels, so I knew that I kind of had it in me, but maybe not to this extent.''
Henrik Sedin had a goal and three assists while twin brother Daniel scored and added two assists in the last meeting with Chicago. They have combined for 15 points in the last three regular-season matchups with the Blackhawks.
These teams have split the last six regular-season meetings in Vancouver.