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Written by Dani Toth | 05 May 2010

It's game three, the series is tied 1-1 and is now back in Vancouver. With Vancouver stealing game one, the Canucks now have the oppotunity to get some wins on home ice. This is not a 'must win' by any statistical sense, but if the Canucks want to assert some dominance in the series these next two games are big. I'm with ChiBlackhawks of Blackhawks Down Low in thinking that really anything can happen tonight.

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Besides which cookie Kes is going to choose, one of the big questions going in to tonight's game is:

Where the hell is Alex Burrows? or maybe we should try: Où est Alexandre Burrows?

So I get that since he's not on the top line with the Sedins that he won't be as proficient at scoring (ahem 35 goals...), but his only goal in the playoffs so far is one empty netter in LA. Where is the agitating Burrows that I had come to know and love? I don't want him to take penalties out there, but he's just dropped off my radar Demitra style.

The rest of the preview after the jump...

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Written by Dani Toth | 03 May 2010

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If your defense only shows up for 20 minutes of the hockey game in the Western Conference semi-final, you aren't going to win the hockey game.

First off, Luongo had a great game. He made some clutch saves.

But if you're team isn't going to score some goals, then you aren't going to win. If your defense decided that 20 minutes of hockey was enough for them, then you aren't going to win. Edler and Ehrhoff made some really atrocious decisions and got caught a few times. If your team doesn't want to outwork the other team, then you aren't going to win. If you don't fire pucks on Niemi, you aren't going to score. If your PP sucks, you aren't going to win. All reason of why we didn't win tonight.

The Hawks wanted it more. They outworked us and pushed harder than us. The bumped Luongo, they snow sprayed and slashed him, yet it seemed like the Canucks didn't care. The Canucks had plenty of powerplay opportunities, but cute passes mean nothing if the puck doesn't go in the freaking net. The Sedins came out a -2 each and Bieksa, back to his old self firing the puck wide. I'm a little shocked that looking at the boxscore that Alberts isn't a minus-something, but I guess that's when Luongo was making all his big saves.

I'm over this loss, this lack of effort, we still stole a road game and now we are coming back home. For the Canucks, it's up to them to respond now with a strong game on home ice. Is it going to be like last year where they just rolled over for the Hawks?

Game 3 in Vancouver at 6:30pm

As always, check out Blackhawks Down Low for their take on the game

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Written by Dani Toth | 03 May 2010

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Game two tonight at the United Center. Even though we won on Saturday night, forget everything you saw from Saturday night. Why? Because after being embarrassed from a 5-1 loss, the Blackhawks will be looking to come out strong tonight. Tonight's game will be a better indicator of what the rest of the series will look like.

Last game the Hawks looked like they struggled with Vancouver's speedy lines and tonight the Canucks will try to continue to build on that. Luongo looked good in game 1 and when asked if last years playoff exit still haunted him he told media "not any more".

So we've done the statement game and good that we made it in the first game on the road, but playoff series' are not won on one game alone. There are still 3 more wins to be won before we are done with the Hawks. Let's not say Antti Niemi is awful just yet, because he had two shutouts in round one after losses. He's also let in a ton of goals in the games against the Predators when he wasn't posting shutouts but since Huet hasn't started a game since a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 25th, don't expect there to be a goaltending change just yet.

No lineup changes for the Canucks, but Grabner is expected to be moved up to the 3rd line, while Demitra is dropped to the 4th line. For the Hawks, Adam Burish is expected to draw into the lineup

Check out Blackhawks Down Low for you opposition blog thoughts, their game preview is here.

Game time is at 6pm and if you are in Chicago tonight, take a cue from the boys and hit up Giordano's for some of the best deep dish pizza in the city. If I may suggest, get the special or the spinach one.....now excuse your writer as she heads off to find something to eat, your links are after the photo.

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Your pre-game reading links:

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Written by Dani Toth | 01 May 2010

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Did you expect this?

Because I didn't expect this. I was predicting scores with Tempocrew before the game started. He predicted a 4-2 win for the Canucks, and I said a 4-3 win, clearly we were both very very wrong. Did anyone expect the Hawks to just crumble after 10 minutes of play in the 1st period?

There was plenty of jump in the first 10 minutes of the game. It was fast, it was open and both teams played hard. It looked like this was going to be a great game to watch if both teams could keep up the pace.

But by the end of the second period the shots were even at 25 shots for each team, but the score was 5-0 for the Canucks. Luongo ended up making 37 saves on 38 shots, and only let in one goal which was on a Chicago powerplay. The Canuck players also blocked a ton of shots, and I think we all cringed a little when we saw Burrows skate to the bench in pain. One of the biggest positives for Vignuealt out of tonight is that all four Canuck lines scored tonight.

The Canuck defense also looked good tonight. Bieksa, Ehrhoff, Salo and Edler all played over 20 minutes tonight shutting down the Hawks. Bieksa played a better game than usual, O'Brien continued his strong playoff performance and Alberts played a good game since there was nothing noticeable to gripe about.

At the other end of the rink, Niemi struggled at stopping pucks and was pulled after two periods. I questioned why Niemi wasn't pulled after 4 goals, because after the 4th goal, Chicago really should have made the switch then to Huet. But not all of the blame can be put on Niemi's performance since Chicago wasn't able to score either. Sure they did eventually score, but at that point it was a little too late. Chicago didn't put forth the net presence in front of Luongo that everyone was afraid of. There was no tone set by the home team saying this was home ice besides the cheering during the anthem that the fans did. By sitting Eager and Burrish, the Hawks lacked any energy in their lineup. And with no goals to cheer for the United Center was no madhouse, in fact it was deathly quiet in the 2nd and 3rd period.

Continued after the jump...

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Written by Dani Toth | 01 May 2010

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All the cars on my street today have those notes on them. Awesome.

Heading out the door this morning, I realize it's May! That means spring hockey! And it's about time that the Canucks are back in action...the last few days things just didn't seem right with no Canucks hockey.

So we're heading back to Chicago for the 'rematch' of last year. Is this really a rematch? Sure we're facing each other again, but it's a whole new playoffs, a whole new series.

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We had Canucks Day, they have this mural.....both cities are jumping the gun a little. And if you haven't seen this yet, msnbc gets punked by bloggers: Kyle Wellwood and Shane O'Brien organize a day log deep dish pizza crawl...

We all know this is going to be a long series, most people predicting 6 or 7 games so the Canucks are not going to win every single one. There will be losses Vancouver, so relax and take a deep breath when you feel like throwing the team under the bus. Tonight is a statement game in the sense that if Vancouver wins it they make a statement that this is a new series, that they aren't the same team as last year. Most importantly if they win tonight, they steal one on the road. If they don't win, not a huge deal. I don't expect the Canucks to win both game one and two, but if they can win one of them, then they've done what they need to do on the road.

Matt Sekeres' twitter says that Grabner will be skating on wing on the 4th line instead of Tanner Glass. And Botchford reports that Alberts will be in over Aaron Rome as the sixth defencemen and that Vigneault had said that Rome is "close to being 100%".

Check out Blackhawks Down Low for their series preview, some blogger perspective from me on the series,  and Chris from the Royal Half's take on the series.

Game time is at 5pm on CBC. If you are in Chicago may I recommend Portillo's for a pre-game meal of Italian beef? God I'm going to die here in Vancouver just thinking about how good it is...and they deliver, but just not to Canada.

Your pre-game reading links:

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Written by Dani Toth | 29 April 2010

Like my Round 1 preview for the Kings, instead of your traditional series preview where I break down the forwards, defense, goaltending and whatever else people break down, I'm straying from the traditional. Don't worry if you are interested in that stuff I'm sure I'll link to blogs who are doing the more traditional thing.

This time round, as part of my series preview, I've enlisted the help of Andrew Bernier from Blackhawks Down Low to answer a few questions heading into the series. Andrew and some guy, very originally named ChiBlackhawks, writes over there at that their fine site. I'm sure we'll get to know them, hate them and maybe end up as friends with them at the end of the series, who knows. Andrew will become my new Blogger Buddy™ for the series, you can find Andrew on twitter and I do suggest you follow him so you can get the other half to my conversations/trash talking.

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Benched Whale: What is the strength of the Canucks over the Hawks?
Blackhawks Down Low: The Canucks have the Hawks beat in net.  I like what I've seen out of Niemi so far, but he's still pretty new to playoff hockey.  We all know about Luongo's resume.  Niemi has a chance to prove himself in this series, but going in the edge is with Lu.

BW: What is the Canucks weakness against the Hawks?
BHDL: The Hawks are a very talented team offensively and I'm not sure Vancouver has the top defensive pairing guys to shut down the top two lines for the Hawks.  Maybe that just comes from me not knowing enough about the Canucks, but once you get past Ehrhoff there really isn't someone who can do that job.

BW: Looking back at last year, what in the main difference between your team this year compared to last year? Is it better or worse?
BHDL: I don't think there's a team-wide difference from last year.  Hossa is a slight upgrade over Havlat mainly in the defensive end.  Kane can actually play some defense now.  Dave Bolland has been a shell of his former self since having back surgery.

Defensively, the Hawks have been a rollercoaster since the Olympics.  They've looked good so far in the playoffs, but towards the end of the regular season it was pretty bad.  Campbell has played limited minutes in games 5 and 6, which really helped the Hawks breakout.  You can still tell he hasn't been 100% though.  Kim Johnsson is assumed to be dead and if he makes an appearance it will be Weekend at Bernie's style.  Dustin Byfuglien will hopefully be moved back to forward just to screw with Luongo.  We've loved what we've gotten from Sopel all season.  He's been a warrior and a great 5th/6th D and PKer.  We joke that he knows he can't get any uglier so he throws his face in front of shots.

Continue after the jump for the rest of BHDL's answers...

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Written by Dani Toth | 28 April 2010

As per NHL.com the Blackhawks vs. Canucks schedule is as follows:

Game 1 - Saturday, May 1 @ Chicago, 5:00 p.m.
Game 2 - Monday, May 3 @ Chicago, 6:00 p.m.
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 5 in Vancouver, 6:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Friday, May 7 in Vancouver, 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 - *Sunday, May 9 @ Chicago, 5:00 p.m.
Game 6 - *Tuesday, May 11 in Vancouver, 6:30 p.m.
Game 7 - * Thursday, May 13 @ Chicago, 5:00 p.m

*Games played if necessary

All games are broadcasted on CBC and Versus and times are in PST.

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