2011 NHL Playoffs: Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks Game 1 Preview, Analysis

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2011 NHL Playoffs: Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks Game 1 Preview, Analysis
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The wait is almost over for hockey fans all over North America as the NHL playoffs are set to begin tonight with some compelling matchups that are sure to keep fans everywhere on their toes.

One matchup that has people frenzied over is the No. 1 seed Vancouver Canucks taking on the No. 8 seed Chicago Blackhawks..

Only in hockey can the top seed be playing the bottom seed with the advantage really not largely favoring the higher-seeded team. But for the President Trophy-winning Canucks, this is going to be a crucial series on a variety of different levels.

Despite being one of the most talented teams in the league over the past three or four years, they have yet to make it to the finals. The past two seasons that has been the direct result of meeting the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been their worst enemy, eliminating them twice.

Chicago is looking to defend the title after getting into the playoffs by the most narrow of margins on the final day of the regular season. Inconsistency has plagued the Blackhawks this season, which has some believing that they in fact lost two much in the offseason with the gigantic salary cap purge that they had to deal with.

But the slate is clear. The teams both are four wins from moving on and are 16 wins away from raising the most storied trophy in professional sports. The star power is there, the hatred is brewing and the stakes are enormous.

We will be with you all day and night posting quick hits updates and live updates throughout the game, so stick with us. It should be an all-out war on the ice.

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