Despite allowing 12 goals against in their last two games, the Canucks have another opportunity tonight to close out their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Blackhawks.
Daniel Sedin (4g,2a), Christian Ehrhoff (1g,3a), and Henrik Sedin (4a) lead Vancouver in head-to-head scoring while Duncan Keith (4g,2a), Michael Frolik (1g,3a), and Dave Bolland (1g,3a) lead Chicago.
The Canucks are coming off a 5-0 loss in Game 5 on Thursday. That loss came exactly four years to the day Vancouver had last been shut-out in a playoff game. It had been 34 post-season outings since the last time Vancouver was held off the score sheet in the playoffs (Apr. 21, 2007 – 2-0 loss @ Dallas Stars).
Vancouver only had a handful of players skate this morning in Chicago and judging by the looks of things, there could be a few changes to their line-up. Keith Ballard may very well return after being a healthy scratch on Thursday in place of Aaron Rome. The only other likely change could see Victor Oreskovich returning to the fourth line in place of Tanner Glass. Vancouver is looking to avoid back-to-back road losses for the first time since January 18.
Roberto Luongo will definitely be looking for a strong bounce-back performance after being replaced by Cory Schneider his last two starts. Luongo had not been pulled in back-to-back games since March 26 and March 28 of 2008. On Friday, Luongo was named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. It’s the third time he’s been nominated for the NHL’s top goaltending honour.
The Hawks are expected to make one change tonight on home ice as Brent Seabrook returns to the blue line. After sitting out the last two games with a concussion, Seabrook practiced with the team yesterday.
Duncan Keith leads all NHL defencemen in playoff scoring. His two-goals in Game 5 at Rogers Arena gave Keith his first multi-goal playoff game in 44 career playoff games. In addition, that night marked the first time in 530 games (regular season and playoffs combined) that Keith put up four points in one game.
Corey Crawford turned aside all 36 shots he faced in Game 5 on Thursday for his first career playoff shut-out. In 57 regular season games this year, Crawford had just one assist. He has posted assists in back-to-back games and has more points than 12 different Canucks who have appeared in this series so far. The last time a Hawks goalie had more than one assist in a post season was Murray Bannerman (2) in 1985.
Jonathan Toews is still looking for his first goal in this series. Chicago’s captain and leading scorer from the regular season had just one goal in his final seven games heading into this series.