Coming off their best regular season in franchise history, the Vancouver Canucks (54-19-9) open up the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at home against the Chicago Blackhawks (44-29-0). The Canucks went 2-1-1 against the Hawks this season, but were out-scored 12-7 by Chicago. Daniel Sedin (2g,3a), Henrik Sedin (2g,2a), and Mikael Samuelsson (2g,1a) led Vancouver in head-to-head scoring while Jonathan Toews (2g,1a), Fernando Pisani (2g,1a), and Patrick Kane (1g,2a) lead the Blackhawks.
The Canucks are into the playoffs for the 24th time in club history. They have won the opening game of a first round series eleven times, which includes their last four straight.
Vancouver finished off their 40th season in the NHL leading the league in the following categories:
- Overall Record (54-19-9)
- Home Record (27-9-5)
- Road Record (27-10-4)
- Goals For (262)
- Goals Against (185)
- Power Play Percentage (24.3%)
- Power Play Goals (72)
- Power Play Goals Against (40)
- Home Ice PK Percentage (88.4)
This will be the fifth time in Canucks history they match up with the Blackhawks in a playoff series, which of course includes back-to-back losses in the last two Western Conference semi-finals. Lifetime, the Canucks are 8-13 against Chicago in post-season meetings. Vancouver has only defeated Chicago once in a playoff match-up, which came in 1982 when they needed five games to claim their first Clarence Campbell Trophy.
15 players on the current Canucks roster were on the team which lost to Chicago in the second round last year. When it comes to overall post-season experience, here’s the breakdown of which Canucks have the most come playoff time:
Mikael Samuelsson 81 GP (21-29-50)
Sami Salo 74 GP (9-17-26)
Daniel Sedin 65 GP (14-28-42)
Henrik Sedin 65 GP (17-27-44)
Christian Ehrhoff 50 GP (5-17-22)
Maxim Lapierre 35 GP (3-4-7)
Alex Burrows 33 GP (7-4-11)
Raffi Torres 30 GP (4-11-15)
Ryan Kesler 23 GP (3-11-14)
Chris Higgins 22 GP (6-5-11)
Roberto Luongo 34 GP (17-17) 2.46 GAA .919 SV% Cory Schneider None
By claiming the President’s Trophy this year, the Canucks will have home ice advantage in every series they play. They’ll hope to use that to their advantage, which hasn’t been the case in recent history. Since the Canucks started playing in Rogers Arena, the club has a combined home-ice playoff record of 13-24, which includes five straight losses to Chicago.
Defending their Stanley Cup title from a year ago, the Blackhawks finished this season eighth overall in the West, qualifying on the final day of the campaign. The last time they finished in eighth place came in 1997, when they were eliminated in six games by the Colorado Avalanche.
13 players who picked up a Stanley Cup ring last summer are back with the Hawks this year. Here’s a look at who leads Chicago in post-season experience:
Marian Hossa 120 GP (34-57-91)
Brian Campbell 83 GP (7-28-35)
Patrick Sharp 51 GP (19-15-34)
Jonathan Toews 39 GP (14-28-42)
Brent Seabrook 39 GP (5-18-23)
Duncan Keith 39 GP (2-21-23)
Patrick Kane 38 GP (19-23-42)
Fernando Pisani 30 GP (4-19-12)
Marty Turco 47 GP (21-26) 2.17 GAA .914 Sv% Corey Crawford 1 GP (0-0) 3.75 GAA .857 Sv%
Crawford is scheduled to make his first playoff start in net tonight. In his lone career meeting against the Canucks on Nov. 20, Crawford made 27 saves in a 7-1 victory. Turco is 19-9-2 lifetime against Vancouver.