REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD
After much anticipation of will he or won't he, the official word is that Daniel Sedin will return to the lineup tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. He has missed 18 games with a broken foot that he suffered in a game against the Montreal Canadiens October 7.
"Every team is going to have injuries and we've had a few of them already this year and it's nice to be almost back to normal again," said Daniel. "I think the guys have done a great job."
"He's going to play with a little big of rust, he's missed a lot of games so I don't think he's going to be 100% his first game," said Henrik. "We've got to wait and see tonight and see how he feels."
Daniel rejoins his brother, Henrik and Alex Burrows returns to his spot on the wing with the Twins.
"It's huge for a team [to have guys back from injury] and I always enjoy playing with [Daniel] and Burr so it's going to be a lot of fun tonight but he's missed a lot of games so we'll see how he is tonight," said Henrik on Daniel's return.
"It's nice to see him back in the lineup but that being said we have to make sure we don't take it for granted and that things are going to fall into place," said Roberto Luongo. "We have to make sure that we keep doing what's made us successful so far and playing our game, playing hard, and make sure they're not at Danny's back, and Hank keep shooting - he can't pass it off every time to his brother."
Playing predominantly on a line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, Henrik has 10 goals and six assists (10-6-16) in the 18 games since Daniel's been out of the lineup.
With Daniel's return, the club announced Saturday that Matt Pettinger was re-assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL to make room on the roster. Pettinger appeared in seven games with the Canucks this season after being signed November 2. He has a goal and an assist in his two games with a plus-2 rating.
SIZING UP THE HAWKS
After a heated six-game series in last year's Western Conference semi-finals of the playoffs, the fuel never ceased and continued where it left off when the teams' met for the first time at the United Center last month.
The Canucks came out with a 3-2 win last game and a hit by Willie Mitchell left a mark on Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews, who was sidelined for six games following.
Chicago was 3-2-1 in the six games without Toews and have won six straight since his return November 9th against the LA Kings. They are now second best in the Western Conference boasting a 14-5-2 record overall and an even more impressive home record at 10-2-1.
The Blackhawks have the best penalty kill in the league, converting at 85.3% and the best road powerplay at 33.3%. Special teams will be a tough test for the Canucks, who are currently 24th on the PK at 77.3% but are clicking on their powerplay at sixth best in the NHL with the man advantage.
"It's just the same boring answer but it's the same for every team, it's just positionally play very well and try to stay out of the penalty box and have a good penalty kill," said Mitchell. "They have a good powerplay, they've got some guys on the back end that can skate and shoot the puck and obviously their forwards are great,"
Vancouver is averaging 16.7 penalty minutes per game, compared to Chicago's 11.7. The Canucks have been shorthanded five or more times on eight occasions this year - that's ten minutes per game that they're killing penalties - something they won't want to do against a strong Blackhawks powerplay.