Vancouver Canucks: Blackhawks Provided Great Tune Up for Showdown with Red Wings

Adam GrahamAnalyst IIFebruary 1, 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 31: Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with Sami Salo #6 after scoring a goal to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime during NHL action on January 31, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

If you were fearful of a sluggish performance from the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks in their first game back from a lengthy All-Star break, you can smile and breathe easy knowing how brilliant the game turned out to be.

The Canucks and Blackhawks may not have beaten each other up physically, but they proved why they’re two of the top teams in the entire NHL by going back and forth all night in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Canucks.

The game featured the skill of both teams' top two forward lines battling against the elite defense pairings on both teams. The Sedin’s battled Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook for most of the night and had to work for every chance they got. This will only help them and their teammates prepare to raise their game to an even higher level against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

As entertaining as Tuesday's game was for Canucks fans, the team was out shot 39-33 by the Blackhawks, and there were times, particularly in the second period, where Cory Schneider had to stand on his head to keep them in the game. While this reminded Canucks fans of the luxury of having two elite No. 1 goaltenders on the same roster, they’ll have to work on maintaining possession of the puck for longer periods of time against the Red Wings.

After all, Detroit is arguably the best puck-possession team in the league and can be deadly if you’re not either winning the initial battles for the puck or exercising plenty of patience when they do have the puck, as Henrik Sedin told The Province on Wednesday.

"[The Red Wings] like to hold on to the puck and they'll bring it back once or twice and then give it to the forwards. You've got to be tight and you can't lose patience otherwise they're going to beat you. And they're going to play you hard or beat you with skill and those are fun games to be a part of."

Not only are the Red Wings a skilled team, but they also showed a little edge to their game in their last meeting with the Canucks when Niklas Kronwall stepped up and delivered a huge hit on Ryan Kesler that angered both him and Kevin Bieksa.

Perhaps, this will add another element to Thursday’s game between the two top teams in the Western Conference. Either way, it will be another statement game at Rogers Arena that should be fun for both the players and the fans.

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