Blackhawks vs. Canucks Preview

chicago blackhawks vs vancouver canucks nhl odds nhl preview nhl betting information nhl playoffs corey crawford roberto luongo

VANCOUVER, B.C. (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks are in a familiar spot, trailing after the first game of a playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.

View Current Chicago Blackhawks Odds

To erase that deficit in Game 2 on Friday night, and come back to eliminate the Canucks for a third straight season, the Blackhawks agree they have to get to another place they know well: right in front of Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Luongo made 32 saves in a 2-0 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night. And while Chicago took some solace in putting three pucks off posts behind him, they say they didn't get enough bodies in front of him.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Canucks -177 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Blackhawks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 795 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks -177.

``That's what playoff hockey is: Scoring ugly goals, scoring goals when you are in the crease, said defenseman Brent Seabrook, one of four players made available after Chicago canceled a Thursday afternoon practice. ``We've got to do a better job getting in Luongo's face.''

It's been an annual pledge from the Blackhawks, but this year may be different.

This a different Blackhawks team than the one that got in Luongo's face the last two playoffs. Both times that charge into the Canucks' crease was led by 265-pound Dustin Byfuglien, one of 11 players shed from last year's Stanley Cup-winning team.

Losing Tomas Kopecky to an undisclosed upper body injury in Game 1 won't help. Kopecky was among the top candidates to pester Luongo, especially on a fourth-ranked power play that was 0 for 3 on Wednesday. But he is doubtful for Game 2.

``As a committee we all have some responsibility of taking it to the net or getting to the net,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ``We need at least somebody in front of him, whether it's a point shot or plays around the net. We made it too easy for him last night.''

Luongo expects to see more Chicago jerseys up close as the series goes on.

``Same as last couple years against them: Guys coming to the net hard, creating traffic, screening,'' he said. ``I'm sure there will be a more conscientious effort from their side to bring more bodies to the net, but for me nothing changes, just try to fight through and find the puck.''

Luongo also has made some changes since last season, and may be harder to disrupt as a result. He is deeper in his crease under new goalies coach Roland Melanson, a subtle but significant tweak designed to shorten his movements in his crease, and the distance to recover to the rebounds Chicago converted so often while winning all three games in Vancouver last playoffs.

The byproduct is he doesn't engage with opposing forwards outside of the crease nearly as often as he did last season, and most contact now occurs inside the blue ice.

``We try to get our box outs and have him see the puck but he has changed his style a little bit, playing a little bit deeper in the net so he's not too worried about guys being on top of the crease,'' Christian Ehrhoff said. ``And if they are in the crease it's up to the ref to make a call.''

Luongo also has more help. After losing too many battles in front of its net while again being eliminated by Chicago, Vancouver added top free-agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis, and traded for Keith Ballard during the summer.

The revamped defense is more physical, and that's the other area Chicago thinks it needs to improve to turn around the series. The Blackhawks were on the receiving end of 47 hits in Game 1, while dishing out just 21 of their own.

``We have to be same like them, hit hard back at them,'' said Chicago forward Michael Frolik, a skill player who led his team with six hits in his playoff debut.

The Blackhawks rallied in their last two playoff series against Vancouver and they're hoping for another comeback beginning on Friday night.

``When we get challenged I think we are better with some anger in our game,'' Quenneville said.

Bet On Blackhawks vs. Canucks Odds

Want More From Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or Subscribe to Our News Feeds!

Recent NHL Discussions

How many more are like this on Wed, Mar 2021 by Surfer
Saturday Sharp Action NHL on Sat, Jan 2021 by Jimmythegreek
NHL STARS on Wed, Sep 2020 by iceman17
Chicago Blackhawks on Sat, Aug 2020 by Surfer

NHL Predictions & Picks

Thumbnail Habs vs. Lightning Game 5 Prediction After failing to do so on Monday night, the Lightning will attempt to finish off the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final, this time on their home ice when the...
Thumbnail Lightning vs. Habs Game 4 Prediction The Lightning will go for a sweep of the Canadiens on Monday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at 8:00 p.m. ET. Will Montreal salvage at least one win the...
Thumbnail Lightning vs. Canadiens Game 3 Prediction Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals will take place from Montreal on Friday night where the Canadiens will host the Lightning at 8:00 p.m. ET. Down 2-0 in the...
Thumbnail Canadiens vs. Lightning Game 2 Prediction The Lightning whipped the Canadines in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, while the over also cashed in the series opener. With Game 2 on deck for...
Thumbnail Canadiens vs. Lightning Game 1 Pick Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final will be held Monday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL, where the Lightning will host the Canadiens at 8:00 p.m. ET. With the...

NHL Headlines