4 Reasons Canucks vs. Blackhawks Is the Best Rivalry in the NHL Today

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4 Reasons Canucks vs. Blackhawks Is the Best Rivalry in the NHL Today
Rich Lam/Getty Images
The Canucks and Blackhawks prepare for their second meeting of the year on Tuesday at the United Center.

The NHL has seen its share of great rivalries over the years. Montreal/Boston dates back to the days of the original six, with its flames fanned by Don Cherry to this day. The Battle of Alberta reigned supreme in the 1980s. Colorado and Detroit fought for Western Conference supremacy in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Over the past few years, no NHL rivalry has been as heated as the one between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks. Much like today's Edmonton Oilers, the Hawks missed the playoffs for enough years to collect some quality draft choices. The team suddenly became respectable during the 2008-09 season.

The rivalry came to a boil in March 2009 as the two teams circled each other as potential playoff rivals. Big Dustin Byfuglien took some liberties with Roberto Luongo and the Canucks fought back. Alex Burrows pulled Duncan Keith's hair during their fight. Players and fans on both sides ended the game outraged, looking for justice.

The teams have met 32 times since then, thanks to three straight years of playoff matchups. Both sides have experienced thrilling victories and agonizing defeat.

Every time the Canucks and Blackhawks play, the games seem to have extra significance. This Tuesday, Chicago is hoping to tie the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks by extending their season-opening unbeaten streak to 16 games—a full one-third of the shortened 48-game season.

The Canucks would like to take two points out of the United Center and would like nothing better than to play spoiler in the Hawks' pursuit of the record.

With the potential for another memorable game, here's a look at why Canucks and Blackhawks always get fired up for games against each other.

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