Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Canucks and Hawks Preview and your chance to win Canucks Playoff Posters!

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So the Vancouver Canucks will once again face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was determined on the final day of the regular season, after the defending champs left their fate in the hands of the Dallas Stars who gave them the equivalent of a Governor’s reprieve when they failed to beat the Minnesota Wild.

And so starting Wednesday at Rogers Arena the Vancouver Canucks will start their quest for the first Stanley Cup in franchise history versus the club that has eliminated them the last two seasons. This time however they should be clearly be favoured to win. They are the Presidents Trophy winners (yes we know the stats on that). They’ll have home ice advantage, and they are better than the Hawks in pretty much every statistical category you can name.

Canuck fans seem split down the middle on the matchup. Some feel it’s best to get rid of the monkey off the back and others are worrying that the Blackhawks hold some sort of psychological edge over Vancouver that could be a huge roadblock for the team to overcome in the first round.

To celebrate the start of the second season and hopefully the start of a long run to the cup, the Vancouver Canucks have supplied us with a set of this year’s 2011 playoff posters to give away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to enter and RT this:

I entered to win a set of 2011 playoff posters from @VanCanucks & @CanucksCorner & you can too! http://canuckscorner.com/?p=1792 #Canucks

So without further delay, let’s get into it…our Canucks and Hawks round one preview!

Goaltending: Advantage Vancouver

Roberto LuongoRoberto Luongo will face the usual questions heading onto the 2011 playoffs. Can he shake off the losses of the last two seasons, and can he get it done in the playoffs. The answers to both of these questions should be yes.

Luongo has just finished his most consistent season as a Canuck and you can attribute that to a few things. The best move Mike Gillis made in the off-season was to resolve the Luongo captaincy issue early on in the process. The decision was ultimately Roberto’s but even he realized his attention to detail was being affected by being the spokesperson for the team. The addition of a full time goaltending coach in Roland Melanson and a reduced workload thanks to the stellar fill in work of Cory Schneider has Luongo entering the playoffs relaxed, confident and on the top of his game. The Hawks will try and disrupt Loungo and it will be up to him to keep composed with the help of his defence which is healthy for the first time all season.

The Blackhawks will go with rookie Corey Crawford over the veteran Marty Turco. One could argue that Crawford is the reason the Hawks are in the playoffs given their sub par performance in other areas this season. Crawford beat the Canucks 7-1 early in the season and the Canucks faced Turco in the three other meetings during the season. It will be Crawford’s first playoff experience and despite how he has played during the season, the playoffs are a different breed. If the Canucks can get some early success the pressure will grow, and Luongo’s experience should be a factor. Likewise, if Chicago can light up Luongo and cast doubts and memories of failures past, it could be a disaster for Vancouver.

We’re giving the nod to Luongo here, as he just seems like a more relaxed an confident player this season. it just seems like he’s focused and ready to rid the demons of the last two seasons. That and Dustin Byfuglien isn’t around to have his large and annoying butt in his crease all  series. Crawford could be one of those great playoff stories, but it’s a tall order for any rookie goaltender to be the saviour for his team.

Defence: Advantage Vancouver

One of the great advantages the Blackhawks had in last year’s playoffs was their depth on defence. This year they are once again very strong on the back end, but the Canucks boast a very experienced and for the first time this season, healthy top 6 defensemen. The return of Alex Edler couldn’t have come at a better time, and he’ll like be paired with Christian Erhoff to form the Canucks top unit. Kevin Bieksa, Sami, Salo, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard and likely Aaron Rome or Andrew Alberts will round the top six and give the Canucks depth they never had in last year’s series. Hamhuis is the biggest question mark after suffering two fairly close concussions in the second half. The physical nature of the playoffs will surely be a test of his current health.

Duncan KeithChicago is also strong with the likes of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Add in rookie Nick Leddy and Chris Campoli who was a key addition via a trade and the Hawks are well positioned. Duncan Keith has logged a lot of minutes for the Hawks this season, and hasn’t been his Norris trophy winning self, but he’s still dangerous and the Canucks will have to be aware of the crafty d-man at all times.

Both teams can score from the back end, so it may come down to who can keep goals out of their own net, and the Canucks allowed the fewest goals of any team in the league this season.

One through six it’s the Canucks who have more experience, and a little more depth. Slight edge to Vancouver.

Fowards: Even

Daniel & Henrik SedinThe Canucks not only led the league in keeping the puck out of their net, they also filled the opponents net more than any other team. With Art Ross winner Daniel Sedin and brother Henrik leading the way the Canucks possess the ability to score in bunches. Ryan Kesler and Alex Burros have also had strong campaigns to add balanced scoring. If the Canucks are going to succeed their bottom tier forwards need to chip in key goals. Stats-wise Mason Raymond had a disappointing season for the club, and Mikael Samuelsson has had an up and down year. With special attention on the way for the Sedin’s the other forwards are going to have to chip in goals, and the Canucks are better positioned for that to happen this year. Jannik Hansen, along with trade acquisitions Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins will look to add grit and scoring respectively in supporting roles.

The Canucks will miss the defensive forward talents of Manny Malhotra but he will be around the team to provide leadership and perhaps inspiration.

Chicago will be no slouches offensively. Jonathon Toews has become one of the greatest leaders in hockey and can take a team on his back. The Hawks also boast the offence of Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, the latter who has really stepped into the forefront this season after the departures of Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien won’t be around to get in Luongo’s face, and there is question as to whether Dave Bolland will be ready for game one after missing 14 games with a concussion. A defensive forward who can score big goals, Bolland was was instrumental in containing the Sedin’s last year on the ay to Chicago’s series win over Vancouver.

This one is close and it’s going to come down to who’s second tier forwards can get the job done. We’re saying it’s a toss up.

Special Teams: Advantage Canucks

The Canucks power play has been in no uncertain terms, lethal. They led the league with the man advantage and if the Hawks hope to win their penalty killing needs to be stellar and they have to stay out of the box, or this series could be over quickly. The Canucks penalty killing has laso been strong but did take a dip after the injury to Manny Malhotra. Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows who were both hurt in last years series will be counted on heavily in this role. The Hawks can throw out a lethal power play as well and on the back end have a deadly combo with Keith and Seabrook. If the Canucks can’t stay disciplined, hich they had problems with last year, the Hawks will make them pay.

Because they’ve done it all year, and we feel Luongo has the edge in goal, we’re giving the edge to Vancouver.

Coaching: Even

Both teams posssess great coaching. Alain Vigneault has to get consideration for coach of the year and has kept the Canucks focused and on track all year through some big injuries, especially on defence. Joel Quennville has won the cup and dealt with a big roster turnover this year. Sure they got some help to get in, but they’re in and he’ll have the Hawks ready to compete.

Our prediction:

The Canucks have to get this monkey off their backs. They’ve worked all year to get every advantage they can and have proven to be the most consistent team in the league. I don’t see the Hawks beating them 4 out of 7 games, and we’re picking the Canucks in 6.

Leave your comments/predictions and tweet the message we mentioned above for a chance to win the 2011 Canucks Playoff poster series from the @VanCanucks!

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Comments

31 Responses to “Canucks and Hawks Preview and your chance to win Canucks Playoff Posters!”
  1. JD says:

    Awesome outlook! tough series to call, but im still saying nucks in 5!

  2. i know it’s not all about Luongo, but many many times obscure teams have a hot goalie to ride right to the final. Luongo this season has been so consistent, so calm and professional, you have to believe this will be the year!

    as always – great post!

  3. Jennifer Keenan says:

    I am in agreement with your assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of each team. I really feel that the whole psychological edge that Chicago supposedly has over Vancouver has been really over stated. Vancouver is a strong team, both physically and mentally, and I think that they will definitely be the winners in this series. Luongo is so strong in net right now, and so confident. Our defence is finally healthy, and our offence is fantastic. Go Canucks!

  4. Eran says:

    It’s time to slay this dragon!!!

  5. Chris Legg says:

    It’ll be a great series for sure! The supporting cast Chicago no longer has and our beefed up defense should make the difference!!

  6. Don Foran says:

    I have been waiting for 40 years & have always hoped for the best and prepared for the worst,. Maybe this is the best team since 1915…

  7. Desire P. says:

    I can’t wait to get revenge for last year…. Bring em on!!!

  8. Jo says:

    Got a good feeling that 3rd times a charm!

  9. Amanda Cheung says:

    Great insight! I think we will beat the Hawks in 5! – Third Times a Charm!

    I gotta a feeling… that this year is OUR year!

  10. Sharon says:

    Well said. I’ll admit I was hoping we’d play Dallas for a change, but I have to say it will be nice to deliver a bit of justice and knock Chicago out once and for all. It’s going to be a great round!

  11. Jessica Turin says:

    We got this Canucks! This will be our year

  12. Saranna says:

    Great assessment :)

    I think the monkey is more in the minds of fans than the team. But in the media microscope we need to come out strong & take them down quickly. Canucks in 5.

  13. lrrss says:

    Canucks go all the way this year!

  14. shane says:

    van will beet chicago in 5 games this year luongo will be awsome this year canucks put chicago away

  15. Janice Smart says:

    Let’s prove the saying “The third time’s the charm”. It CAN be done.

  16. linda says:

    :) 5 games canucks advance.

  17. Tara says:

    Canucks in 5. The Nucks are are more in control team this year. Let Chicago have the meltdowns and we have it made.

  18. Ellen says:

    Ill make room for more posters even if i have to build new walls ! =)

  19. Kent says:

    This is the year, and it starts with the team that people think are in the Canucks heads? Do people really think that the Canucks braintrust wouldn’t focus on putting together a team built to beat teams like Chicago? They must, judging by the number of people picking the Hawks. Sorry, a rookie goaltender is not gonna beat us again… This is not the same Canucks team and they’re definitely not the same Blackhawks. Go Canucks Go!

  20. Deborah says:

    Please enter me in the draw to win the Canucks posters! Canucks ALL the way this year! GO CANUCKS GO! BELIEVE IN BLUE!

  21. Chris Green says:

    We’re going all the way! GO CANUCKS!

  22. Matt Lee says:

    So stoked for the playoffs! My Term 2 Uni Finals marks are so dead )=

  23. I’m made happy just thinking of the boost the Canucks will get from beating the Blackhawks, especially psychologically. This team has something to prove, and I think we all know that they have the ingredients to do it this year. Let the playoffs begin!

  24. Eric says:

    New Canucks fan here and I’d love to have my first playoff poster! This is our year!

  25. Ken says:

    Go Canucks Go

    I entered to win a set of 2011 playoff posters from @VanCanucks & @CanucksCorner & you can too! http://canuckscorner.com/?p=1792 #Canucks

  26. pinnelli says:

    Nucks in 5, I don’t know what all the fuss is about.
    Let’s rock ‘ roll

  27. gcorbett says:

    Entered! Canucks in 6.

  28. Heidi says:

    I’d love to see the Canucks sweep the Blackhawks. Unrealistic, but it would be disgustingly amazing if it happened. Canucks in 6 sounds more reasonable :)

  29. Suleiman Damji says:

    I predict the Canucks will win it in 5 it would be SWEET if the Canucks Swept the BlackHawks and send them packing early and it will be golf season for them.:)so yeah Canucks in 5.

  30. Angela (@Marcakis87) says:

    I say Canucks in 5 :) Go Canucks Go!

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