Signs point to Sedin for hot Hawks
The Vancouver Canucks should have Daniel Sedin back in the lineup for the first time in 19 games Sunday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sedin had four assists in four games in October before being sidelined with a broken bone in his left foot.
Vancouver assigned forward Matt Pettinger to the minors on Saturday to clear a roster spot.
Daniel Sedin's return could see him split up from twin brother Henrik Sedin. Henrik has been clicking on a line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond.
Long known as a pass-first player, Henrik Sedin has been a stealth sniper of late, with seven goals in seven games on just 15 shots.
Canucks fans remember too well the last time Chicago was at GM Place for a meaningful game. Vancouver led 2-1 midway through Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, but the Blackhawks scored twice more and added an empty-netter in a 4-2 victory.
Chicago rallied again in Game 6 at home to advance to the conference final.
The Canucks did take the first meeting of the clubs this season, a 3-2 result in Chicago on Oct. 21. Mikael Samuelsson had a goal and an assist in the Vancouver win.
Both clubs are on streaks heading into the clash — one modest, one impressive.
Vancouver won its second straight with a 5-2 over Colorado on Friday, overcoming early penalty trouble.
6-game winning streak
Chicago, meanwhile, defeated Edmonton by the same score on Saturday for a sixth consecutive win.
Samuelsson and Christian Ehrhoff each had three points in the win over the Avalanche, while Roberto Luongo made 22 saves.
Luongo's stats of late haven't been flashy, but consider this stat: In his last four appearances, he's allowed just two goals when play is even strength. The other six have come with the Canucks short handed.
Defenceman Mathieu Schneider at 40 may ultimately not be an every game player for the Canucks as the season unfolds, but he's notched three points in the last two games after dealing with a shoulder injury.
Vancouver defenders will want to make Chicago's forwards pay the price inside the blue line, something that decidedly did not happen on Saturday in Edmonton.
The Blackhawks whizzed around in the Oilers' end in the 5-2 game. Captain Jonathan Toews had a pair of goals and an assist, with Kris Versteeg scoring his third in two games. Patrick Kane and John Madden also found the mark.
Cristobal Huet finished with 28 saves.
Vancouver's win in October over Chicago came with Antti Niemi in net for a then-struggling Huet.
Since that date, Huet has a 1.64 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, but it seems that with back-to-back games, the Finn Niemi may get the start against the Canucks.
Chicago, too, are awaiting the return of a top forward, but it's likely Marian Hossa will play later this week in California and not against Vancouver. Hossa has yet to play for the Blackhawks due to shoulder surgery after signing a marathon contract with the club in the summer.
The Canucks are playing the second of a five-game homestand, which continues Thursday with the Los Angeles Kings in town.