The Vancouver Canucks kick off a three-game road trip Sunday, as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Henrik Sedin has scored in back to back games, and recently eclipsed the 1,000 point mark, while Ryan Miller enters the United Center with seven wins in his past nine starts.
While the Blackhawks have seen more success thus far this season, and are currently jockeying with the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Western Conference, the Canucks are heating up and making a push for a playoff spot. They sit at 50 points, and with two games in hand, they could overtake the Calgary Flames who hold the last playoff position with 51 points. As the Canucks approach these three road games before the all-star break, they hope to enjoy their time off while sitting in a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks are coming off a 1-0 shutout win in Boston where Scott Darling and Tuukka Rask dueled in a scoreless tie that wouldn’t be broken until less than 90 seconds remained in the game. After an exemplary performance in net, Darling will cede the net back to starter Corey Crawford, who will aim to remind the coaches and fans why he is the bonafide Blackhawks starter. Crawford has struggled in the month of January, and has posted a .886 save percentage while allowing 23 goals in seven appearances and will look to improve on recent performances as he faces the 26th ranked scoring team in the NHL.
Scott Darling: first #Blackhawks shutout at Boston since Tony Esposito 1/17/1970
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) January 21, 2017
Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center – 6:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, Jan. 22.
Broadcast channels – NHLN, WGN, SN
2016-17 Season Series:
November 19 – Blackhawks 4 – Canucks 3
Vancouver Canucks – 22-19-6 – 50 Points
Away Record: 5-13-3
Hot Players: Ryan Miller
Key Injuries: Jannik Hansen, Derek Dorsett, Anton Rodin, Erik Gudbranson, Ben Hutton, Philip Larsen
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Loui Eriksson
Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter – Jack Skille
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Alex Burrows
Brendan Gaunce – Michael Chaput – Jayson Megna
Alex Edler – Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanev
Nikita Tryamkin – Alex Biega
Chicago Blackhawks – 29-14-5 – 63 Points
Home Record: 17-5-4
Hot Players: Tanner Kero, Marian Hossa
Key Injuries: Marcus Kruger
Ryan Hartman – Jonathan Toews – Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza -Tanner Kero – Marian Hossa
Nick Schmaltz – Dennis Rasmussen – Andrew Desjardins
Duncan Keith – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny – Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell – Trevor van Riemsdyk
1)The Blackhawks have a strong home record of 17-5-4. They have won four out of the past five home games and enter Sunday with a two-game winning streak. The Canucks enter with their own two-game winning streak and hope to carry this streak into next week’s all-star break.
2) Vancouver has endured recent struggles when playing at the on the road. They are 1-5-2 in their last eight road games and have lost two straight games at the United Center, the most recent being a 4-0 shutout last season.
3)Henrik Sedin hopes to continue to shine after recording his 1,000th point against former teammate Robert Luongo. Henrik became the first player in franchise history to reach the 1,000 point mark, and he enters this matchup riding a four-game point streak.
4)The Blackhawks have been utilizing their depth well in the past few games, capitalizing on a bottom six mismatch against the Colorado Avalanche where the Hawks had long stretches of sustained offensive zone time. They continued this effort against the Boston Bruins with youngsters like Vinnie Hinostroza and Tanner Kero showing that they can take more responsibility.
5)Blackhawks coach, Joel Quenneville, is putting Corey Crawford back in the crease tonight after Scott Darling’s 30 save shutout on Friday. “We want [Crawford] playing as much as he can to get back to the great pace he had prior to him being away.” Since coming back from an emergency appendectomy, Crawford hasn’t seemed to be his usual self. Crawford was selected as an all-star and Quenneville and the Blackhawks top brass will need to balance getting Crawford back in groove while managing to get him some rest.