Blog Entry

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

Posted on: April 11, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 8:44 pm
 


These two teams meet in the first round instead of second, as has been the case the last couple postseasons. The Chicago Blackhawks are a different team -- thanks in large part to trading so many cogs from last season’s Stanley Cup title team for salary cap reasons -- and it was a struggle even to get the eighth and final seed. Meanwhile, the Canucks clinched the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy. 

Here’s the breakdown: 

Forwards: Twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin, along with Alex Burrows, are arguably the top line in hockey. But it’s not like the ‘Hawks line is a slouch. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp will be force in the series and could have something to prove since it was a weak point for the Blackhawks in the first few games of the Stanley Cup Final last year. It will come down to second and third lines. Will Canucks center Ryan Kesler step up? Can Marian Hossa pick up the slack for Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and other players long since dealt from last year’s title team? The Cancuks will begin the playoffs without winger Raffi Torres (two-game postseason suspension) and center Manny Malohra (eye injury) will not be available at all during the playoffs. The Blackhawks could get Dave Bolland, out since March 9 with a concussion, and Troy Brouwer (shoulder) back soon. Edge: None

Defense: The Canucks blueliners have gotten healthy at the right time. Dan Hamhuis, who missed five games with a concussion, returned for the regular season finale over the weekend, and Alexander Edler (back surgery) also worked his way back in the lineup in recent days. Add in a healthy Sami Salo and Christian Ehrhoff -- who wrapped up his best year offensively in the NHL (50 points) and the Canucks have a solid group in defense. The Blackhawks, anchored by Dunan Keith, were in the middle of the pack in goals against (12th, 2.68 goals allowed per game). It will be interesting to see if Chicago coach Joel Quennville puts Keith and Brent Seabrook back together on the first defensive line, or whether they will remain on separate lines like they have been in long stretches this season. Edge: Vancouver 

Goalie: Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo has received much of the criticism for the team’s postseason failings, but the pressure could be of his shoulders. At least a little bit. The defense in front of Luongo is much more stable this playoff run and Luongo played in eight fewer games than a season ago, thanks in large part to that fact the team has a viable backup in Cory Schneider. The 'Hawks will go with another playoff untested goalie in Corey Crawford, although Chicago might not have the luck it had with Antti Niemi as season ago.  Edge: Vancouver 

Special teams: Vancouver had the league’s best power play (24.3 percent) and Daniel Sedin finished with a league-best 18 power-play goals (18) Kessler was fourth overall (15). And the Canucks faces a team that has struggled when they’re down a man. Chicago was 25th in the league on PK (79.2 percent). The Canucks were tie with Washington for the second-best PK in the league (85.6).  Edge: Vancouver
-- A.J. Perez
Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:33 pm
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Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:23 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

the blackhawks did not back in as they held the 8th position no team could overtake them and this was one of the best seasons in /0 years of hawks history



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

Nice.  Who are the "Cancuks"?

Whatever.  Kick 'em in the 'Nucks tonight Chicago.



Since: May 25, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this series comes down to goaltending. I know, I know. Bold prediction. Let's face it, the Hawks know that if they can get in Luongo's kitchen the wheels might fall off for the Canucks. I dsagree with with some of the other posters about who the pressure is on too. I know the Hawks own the Cup, but at the same time I don't think they are under the same pressure due to lesser expectations. I don't think they are feeling much pressure at all in fact, which might make them more dangerous. On the flip side, I think the Canucks are under a tremendous amount of pressure. Presidents Trophy, Number 1 seed, playing the 8 seed that sent you packing the last two seasons, big time goalie with a reputation of not being good in big games, etc.

If the Hawks lose, they failed to defend the Cup with a team that was severely altered from the one that won it. They essentially had a rebuilding year. If the Canucks lose, they choked and Luongo doesn't have the chops to cut it in the big time.

Looking forward to a great series. If the Hawks win tonight, hold on to your hat if you are Vancouver going into game 2. Don't think they will be sleeping well at night facing a potential 0-2 heading to the United Center against a confident hawk team with momentum.



Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

 Canucks fan here...  Guess what?  This matchup is dead even.  Know why???  BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T PLAYED GAME ONE!  Der!?!  So, sure the Canucks players can say the last two years have no effect on them now but we all know that they know what happened the last two years.  I hope that just makes them that much hungrier.  No, Chicago isn't the same team but neither is Vancouver.  Series edge???  Nobody, as previously stated it's a 0-0 series right now.

To the jean-yus proclaiming this Chicago team possibly the best 8th seed ever, you are on dope.  They've done absolutely nothing other than try to throw away the 8th seed this last weekend.  We'll have to wait and see there Nostradamus.

I agree totally with the dude that mentioned Quennville's commentary.  He's quite entertaining.
I agree Chicago could very well steal game 1 in Vancouver.  I've seen the Canucks lose a few after coming off a road trip or extended break at home.

Looking forward to a great matchup.

My personal prediction is Canucks in 6 but that's just me.  We'll see.

Enjoy the playoffs!




Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

Vancouver has the curse of the President's Cup Trophy to carry through the playoffs.  The most points for the season is of zero worth in the second season.  The Cannucks may not fall to the Blackhawks that have backed into the playoffs with a much different lineup this year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Vancouver bow out before the Conference Finals.  Remember, the Flyers backed into the playoffs on the last day of the season last year and made it to the cup finals.  



Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:46 am
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

It should be a very good series, but I don't agree with Perez's "expert analysis."  Defense is a wash and not a Vancouver edge. I think any team in the league would take Keith and Seabrook and Hjalmersson over just about anyone else.  And for goalies, would you prefer to have an untested goalie who played really well or a tested goalie who has failed badly in the playoffs?  And luck last year with the goalie?  Niemi is one of the top goalies this year as well, so maybe its just that the Hawks sign pretty decent goalies, including Crawford?  That seems like a wash to me as well.  I do agree with the ST rating.  The Hawks were bad this year on the PK, so unfroatunetly, the series could come down to who gets less penalities.  

I don't see the Hawks winning the series, but it should go the distance or at least 6.  The Hawks will make em work for it and a win is not out of the question.  As alot of people have pointed out over the last couple weeks, the West has been a lot better this year and a team with 97 points usually will get you slotted as a higher seed than 8.  
Either way, it should be a great series.  



Since: Apr 9, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:48 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

These two teams meet in the first round instead of second, as has been the case the last couple postseasons. The Chicago are a different team -- thanks in large part to trading so many cogs from last season’s Stanley Cup title team for salary cap reasons -- and it was a struggle even to get the eighth and final seed. Meanwhile, the clinched the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy. 

Here’s the breakdown: 

Forwards: Twins Henrik and , along with , are arguably the top line in hockey. But it’s not like the ‘Hawks line is a slouch. , and will be force in the series and could have something to prove since it was a weak point for the Blackhawks in the first few games of the Stanley Cup Final last year. It will come down to second and third lines. Will Canucks center step up? Can pick up the slack for , and other players long since dealt from last year’s title team? The Cancuks will begin the playoffs without winger (two-game postseason suspension) and center Manny Malohra (eye injury) will not be available at all during the playoffs. The Blackhawks could get , out since March 9 with a concussion, and (shoulder) back soon. Edge: None

Defense: The Canucks blueliners have gotten healthy at the right time. , who missed five games with a concussion, returned for the regular season finale over the weekend, and (back surgery) also worked his way back in the lineup in recent days. Add in a healthy and -- who wrapped up his best year offensively in the NHL (50 points) and the Canucks have a solid group in defense. The Blackhawks, anchored by Dunan Keith, were in the middle of the pack in goals against (12th, 2.68 goals allowed per game). It will be interesting to see if Chicago coach Joel Quennville puts Keith and back together on the first defensive line, or whether they will remain on separate lines like they have been in long stretches this season. Edge: Vancouver 

Goalie: Vancouver goalie has received much of the criticism for the team’s postseason failings, but the pressure could be of his shoulders. At least a little bit. The defense in front of Luongo is much more stable this playoff run and Luongo played in eight fewer games than a season ago, thanks in large part to that fact the team has a viable backup in . The 'Hawks will go with another playoff untested goalie in , although Chicago might not have the luck it had with as season ago.  Edge: Vancouver 

Special teams: Vancouver had the league’s best power play (24.3 percent) and Daniel Sedin finished with a league-best 18 power-play goals (18) Kessler was fourth overall (15). And the Canucks faces a team that has struggled when they’re down a man. Chicago was 25th in the league on PK (79.2 percent). The Canucks were tie with Washington for the second-best PK in the league (85.6).  Edge: Vancouver
-- A.J. Perez



Since: Apr 9, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:47 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

These two teams meet in the first round instead of second, as has been the case the last couple postseasons. The Chicago are a different team -- thanks in large part to trading so many cogs from last season’s Stanley Cup title team for salary cap reasons -- and it was a struggle even to get the eighth and final seed. Meanwhile, the clinched the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy. 

Here’s the breakdown: 

Forwards: Twins Henrik and , along with , are arguably the top line in hockey. But it’s not like the ‘Hawks line is a slouch. , and will be force in the series and could have something to prove since it was a weak point for the Blackhawks in the first few games of the Stanley Cup Final last year. It will come down to second and third lines. Will Canucks center step up? Can pick up the slack for , and other players long since dealt from last year’s title team? The Cancuks will begin the playoffs without winger (two-game postseason suspension) and center Manny Malohra (eye injury) will not be available at all during the playoffs. The Blackhawks could get , out since March 9 with a concussion, and (shoulder) back soon. Edge: None

Defense: The Canucks blueliners have gotten healthy at the right time. , who missed five games with a concussion, returned for the regular season finale over the weekend, and (back surgery) also worked his way back in the lineup in recent days. Add in a healthy and -- who wrapped up his best year offensively in the NHL (50 points) and the Canucks have a solid group in defense. The Blackhawks, anchored by Dunan Keith, were in the middle of the pack in goals against (12th, 2.68 goals allowed per game). It will be interesting to see if Chicago coach Joel Quennville puts Keith and back together on the first defensive line, or whether they will remain on separate lines like they have been in long stretches this season. Edge: Vancouver 

Goalie: Vancouver goalie has received much of the criticism for the team’s postseason failings, but the pressure could be of his shoulders. At least a little bit. The defense in front of Luongo is much more stable this playoff run and Luongo played in eight fewer games than a season ago, thanks in large part to that fact the team has a viable backup in . The 'Hawks will go with another playoff untested goalie in , although Chicago might not have the luck it had with as season ago.  Edge: Vancouver 

Special teams: Vancouver had the league’s best power play (24.3 percent) and Daniel Sedin finished with a league-best 18 power-play goals (18) Kessler was fourth overall (15). And the Canucks faces a team that has struggled when they’re down a man. Chicago was 25th in the league on PK (79.2 percent). The Canucks were tie with Washington for the second-best PK in the league (85.6).  Edge: Vancouver
-- A.J. Perez



Since: Oct 15, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Preview: No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago

No doubt the Hawks aren't as deep as they were last year or even two years ago, but they can still put the puck in the net and if they get inside the fragile Luongo's brain early in this series I like their chances. Watch for the Hawks to steal game one.


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