Canucks vs. Blackhawks Preview

vancouver canucks vs chicago blackhawks nhl playoffs nhl odds nhl betting information nhl preview roberto luongo corey crawford henrik sedin patrick kane

CHICAGO, IL (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks are dishing out the hits, knocking the Chicago Blackhawks into the boards, off the puck and maybe out of the playoffs.

View Current Chicago Blackhawks Odds

A ferociously physical defense backed by goalie Roberto Luongo has helped Vancouver build a 2-0 lead in the first-round series. Now the action shifts to the United Center.

Can the Blackhawks get untracked on home ice beginning Sunday night in Game 3?

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Blackhawks -125 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Canucks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 1,165 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks +115.

They're going to need more input from their big scoring stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa or the defending Stanley Cup champs could be making vacation plans real soon. Those four have totaled one assist - by Kane - in the first two games.

``It's always tough when you can't contribute individually, especially when you lose both games. I know I'm counted on to provide offense,'' Sharp said Saturday, adding he's not pressing

``I think the only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. That kind of stuff happens in a playoff series. Been through that before.''

The Canucks' line depth has been a factor in the first two games, especially against Chicago's top guns.

``They are well conditioned athletes, I'm sure they can handle it. We're going to keep playing them hard and try to wear them down as much as possible,'' said Vancouver's Ryan Kesler, one of the NHL's top defensive centers.

``When you are playing that many minutes, if they are easy minutes and we're not physical on them, then it makes their job even easier. ... Nothing is better than scoring a goal, but shutting those guys down is fun.''

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said one area where the team's top scorers can play better is on the power play, where the Blackhawks are 0 for 5 so far in the series.

``We need more from those guys, whether it's offensive zone time, puck possession time, quality scoring chances and we need production at the end of it,'' Quenneville said. ``The power play last night really took us out of the game. You are not going to get many in the series.''

The Canucks will have forward Raffi Torres available for the first time in the series, giving them yet another physical presence. Torres was suspended four games - the last two of the regular season and first two of the playoffs - for his hit to the head of Oilers forward Jordan Eberle earlier this month.

``Raffi is Raffi, he is a physical energy guy and that part of his game is not going to change,'' Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. ``We all know Raffi, he won't be gun shy.''

Torres said the rough and tough approach by the Canucks appears to be working against players like Kane, who took a huge hit from Alexander Edler in Game 2

``It almost looks like he doesn't want the pucks at some points,'' Torres said. ``But at the end of the day, you know those guys are going to come back stronger than ever in Chicago and we've just got to keep doing the same thing.''

Quenneville expects is team to respond, especially on home ice.

``I don't think we're shying away from contact,'' he said. ``Whether it's our support men or our puck possession game, we can be stronger and better.''

After getting blanked 2-0 in the opener, the Blackhawks have one source of optimism - they finally got some pucks past Luongo in Game 2 and were denied a tie after a frantic last-minute rush.

They got a lift from rookie and former Boston College star Ben Smith, who scored two goals.

``Trying to beat him on the initial shot, you're not going to have much luck,'' Quenneville said of Luongo. ``You got to penetrate the slot in front of him and hang around in that area.''

NOTES: Vancouver second-line LW Mikael Samuelsson was a late scratch Friday because of illness but could play Sunday. ... Quenneville said RW Tomas Kopecky, who got hurt in the opener and missed Game 2, is progressing. LW Bryan Bickell, who left the ice holding his wrist Friday night, will be re-evalutated Sunday, and center Dave Bolland is doubtful with a concussion. Bolland missed the final 14 games of the regular season.

Bet On Canucks vs. Blackhawks Odds

Want More From TheSpread.com? 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 Stars vs. Blues Prediction & Odds The Stars and Blues will meet in St. Louis on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET and given the lack of scoring in previous meetings between the two teams, is the under...
Thumbnail Canucks vs. Sharks Prediction & Odds The Canucks and Sharks square off at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night and with both teams struggling, where is the value when it comes to...
Thumbnail Stars vs. Avalanche Prediction & Odds Could the defending Stanley Cup champs be tested on Saturday night when the Avalanche host the Stars at 9:00 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Hurricanes vs. Bruins Prediction & Odds The Hurricanes and Bruins will square off on Friday afternoon in Boston where the home team is currently favored on the money line. With the total also...
Thumbnail Bruins vs. Panthers Prediction & Odds The Bruins have had good success versus the Panthers in previous meetings between the two teams, who will meet at 7:00 p.m. ET...

NHL Headlines