Preview: Seesaw Canucks host Cup champion Blackhawks in Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks take on the terrifying Chicago Blackhawks are Rogers Arena tonight, looking to rebound from a disappointing – and depressing, really – 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Vancouver is 1-1-0 against Chicago season, in two meeting split between their cities.

Their last one? A heart-filling come-from-behind shootout win, capped by Ryan Kesler's winner on Corey Crawford. Things were still looking good back then.

I've compiled a list of things to know for tonight's game. They call these ice chips.

  • Even though they ride into every city like Huns, the scent of the Stanley Cup's tin still fresh on their fingernails, the Blackhawks actually kind of suck lately. They're 3-3-4 in their last 10, and are only 14 points ahead of Vancouver.
  • I just said only 14 points ahead of Vancouver. That tells you more about Vancouver than it does about Chicago.
  • After rocketing to second in the NHL's scoring race a few weeks ago, Patrick Kane has levelled off a little bit. But his 60 points through 55 games still have him in fourth place in the league, and he scored in Chicago's loss to Calgary last night.
  • Even if Kaner isn't firing on all cylinders, the Blackhawks still possess the deepest offence in the NFL. Maybe in the past decade. The Hawks have five players in the NHL's top 28 point-getters this season – Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Marian Hossa – and three Canadian Olympians. All five of those guys have more points than any Canuck. Hawks d-man Brent Seabrook is tied with Ryan Kesler at 33 points.
  • After two seasons of drama that followed three seasons of dramatic doubt in his play, Roberto Luongo may actually be having the best season of his NHL career. Obvious others include his 2004 with Florida and his 2007 with Vancouver, but Luongo's 19-12 record, .921 save percentage, 2.25 goals-against, and three shutouts are outstanding markers on a team that hasn't given him any run support. Not only that, but he has looked terrific, too, with the exception of that Antoine Vermette stinker on Sunday.
  • I'm so sorry to be this guy... but wouldn't you love to have Cody Hodgson tonight?
  • This is Vancouver's fourth game without John Tortorella. But tonight's matchup may be the only team we notice a difference. Vancouver's previous contests were against sleepers like Edmonton, Phoenix, and Edmonton. Chicago is a challenge, and it's always personal.
  • Vancouver's crowd has sucked this season. Take it from me... I go to the games, and I have to force myself to cheer. The on-ice product hasn't been exciting, and you just don't get a rush out of watching these week-night slumber parties against teams like Phoenix, Edmonton, or Calgary. Tonight's game, though, should be different. Well, it better be.
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