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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME FORTY-FIVE: Canucks @ Chicago- Jan 31, 2022

Coming off what was quite likely the least entertaining game of the season so far, the Canucks lost in OT to Calgary. They’ll look to get back on track in Chicago tonight in the first of a back to back to finish this road swing.

Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (19-19-6) vs CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (16-21-7)

UNITED CENTRE, CHICAGO, IL

4:30PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650

OPPOSING BLOG: SECOND CITY HOCKEY

If you managed to make it through that game on Saturday, congrats. It was painful to watch, and definitely more like the pre-Bruce Boudreau Canucks than what we’ve seen since he took the reins as head coach.

Fortunately, we can forget all about that garbage and look forward to a doubleheader featuring two very different teams. Tomorrow night, they’ll be in Nashville to take on the Predators, currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference, but tonight, it’s a visit to the United Center and the Chicago Blackhawks.

While they have been better since starting the season losing ten of their first eleven games, the Blackhawks are going to miss the post-season this year, and present a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to try and make up ground on the teams sitting between them and those wild card slots in the West.

On paper, there’s not much difference between the Canucks and Blackhawks. Both teams have struggled to score goals this season, they have superstars that are having sub-par years, and dug themselves a hole early that doomed their season. The one key difference is in goal. The Canucks have allowed 27 less goals than the Blackhawks in the same number of games, and that’s why the Canucks are a few points ahead in the standings right now. If they could actually score a little more frequently? They’re probably a lot closer to that wild card spot.

It’s important that they come out of tonight with a win, with that tough battle in Nashville tomorrow. Heading home with six of a possible eight points on this road trip before the All Star break would be pretty satisfying to the Canucks, I’m sure.

LINEUPS

Tonight’s disasterpiece ensembles are courtesy of nhl.com:

Canucks projected lineup

Vasily PodkolzinJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Elias PetterssonBo HorvatConor Garland

Tyler MotteJuho LammikkoMatthew Highmore

Nils HoglanderJason DickinsonAlex Chiasson

Quinn HughesLuke Schenn

Oliver Ekman-LarssonTyler Myers

Brad HuntNoah Juulsen

Jaroslav Halak

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Justin Dowling, Spencer Martin

Injured: Kyle Burroughs (lower body), Guillaume Brisebois (undisclosed), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Brady Keeper (leg), Brandon Sutter (illness), Tucker Poolman (illness)

COVID-19 protocol: Tanner Pearson

Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon HagelDylan StromePatrick Kane

Alex DeBrincatKirby DachPhilipp Kurashev

Dominik KubalikSam LaffertyBrett Connolly

Ryan CarpenterHenrik BorgstromMacKenzie Entwistle

Jake McCabeSeth Jones

Calvin de HaanConnor Murphy

Caleb JonesErik Gustafsson

Marc-Andre Fleury

Collin Delia

Scratched: Wyatt Kalynuk

Injured: Jonathan Toews (concussion protocol), Jujhar Khaira (lower back), Reese Johnson (clavicle), Tyler Johnson (neck), Riley Stillman (upper body), Kevin Lankinen (hand)

No changes for the Canucks apart from Jaroslav Halak getting the crease tonight, and Thatcher Demko getting the nod tomorrow in Nashville. Halak has a good record against Chicago in his career (9-2-3 .930 SV% and 2.05 GAA), and he’ll need to be solid tonight in his first action back since coming off COVID protocol. The last time these teams met, Marc-Andre Fleury was stupid good and/or lucky, as the Canucks weren’t able to put one of the 40 shots they fired at him.

The Hawks have no one in protocol but are pretty banged up, most notably Jonathan Toews, who is in concussion protocol with no time table for his return.

GAME DAY CHATTER

The boss is here, so let’s hope they put on a good show for the new GM.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Finland’s AMORPHIS have a new label, a new record and a great new video that dropped on Friday. ‘On The Dark Waters’ is from their upcoming album ‘Halo’, which is out through Atomic Fire Records on Feb 11th. This one feels a lot like some of the stuff from their classic ‘Elegy’ album from back in 1996, and I am definitely going to check this one out.

Enjoy the game, folks. Go Canucks Go!