The Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks will be meeting up for their second tilt of the season against each other. Both teams are coming off 5-2 wins against their opponents and are looking to continue their winning ways.
The Canucks have won two straight games (both against the Avs), while the Chicago Blackhawks have been one of the hottest teams in the league in the month of November with a current six game win streak. Patrick Kane celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday night by registering one goal and one helper in a 5-2 win over the Oilers; he has now extended his point streak to an impressive seven games. He looks to extend the point streak to eight on Sunday night in Vancouver.
One of the bright spots for Vancouver so far this season has been the 27 year old German defenceman Christian Ehrhoff. The Canucks have been searching for an offensive defenceman with swagger for more than three years, since Jovanovski left for more money. With two goals, nearly a third and a brilliantly patient assist, Ehrhoff brought both presence and confidence to the Canucks blue-line on Friday night. With 15 points, Ehrhoff is showing he can be a threat opponents may have to fear, and there hasn't been one of those on the Canucks' back end for a long time. Most impressively, Ehrhoff has been solid defensively and leads his team with a plus-11 rating.
One of the main storylines going around town is the battle between Willie Mitchell and Jonathan Toews. In the last meeting between these two teams, Mitchell delivered a game-breaking hit in the neutral zone during the third period to give his team a much needed spark. Toews managed to get up for a few seconds before stumbling back down on to his knees and crawling the rest of the way to the bench. Losing Toews in the middle of the third period would prove costly to the Hawks as the Canucks came back from a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 in regulation time. Toews has now played two games since coming back from injury and will be looking to get some pay back against Mitchell and the Canucks.
Antti Niemi is expected to get his first start since Nov. 6. This will be Niemi's second meeting vs. the Canucks and will also be looking to bounce back after losing to them earlier in the season. Niemi currently has a record of 3-1-1 and a stellar GAA of 2.22. Marian Hossa will not play against the Canucks but is due to make his debut sometime this week.
The Canucks, who are coming off a 5-2 victory Friday night over the Avalanche, should be bolstered by the return of Daniel Sedin, who has been sidelined for 18 games with a broken foot. His twin brother, Henrik, leads the Canucks in scoring with 13 goals and 11 assists.
Goals Per Game: Chicago 5th, Canucks 12th in the NHL
Goals Against Per Game: Chicago 2nd, Canucks 10th
Who's better 5 on 5? Chicago 3rd, Canucks 10th
Powerplay: Canucks 6th, Chicago 9th
Penalty Kill: Chicago 1st, Canucks 24th.
Shots Per Game: Chicago 4th, Canucks 13th
Shots Against Per Game: Chicago 1st, Canucks 9th
Faceoff Percentage: Chicago 2nd, Canucks 7th
Sunday's game faces off at 7:00pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on the TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at team1040.ca.