No. 2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 3 Vancouver Canucks
Wes Goldstein's Take
The Blackhawks will win if: They are willing to pay the price by doing the little things like blocking shots, finishing checks winning battles along the boards and in corners. The grit factor wasn't always there against Nashville, and that should be a concern for a team that is very good and knows it. Complacency endangered Chicago against Nashville, with the Blackhawks ultimately winning out because their talent was superior. In reality, though, they survived the Predators more than beating them, and chances are they won't get away with that again, especially if goaltender Antti Niemi isn't steadier throughout.
The Canucks will win if: Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin do what they did against Los Angeles, which is put up a lot of points, and Mikael Samuelsson keeps scoring the way he did. That won't be easy against a more talented team, though, so Vancouver will need its secondary scorers to contribute a lot more than they did against the Kings. The penalty kill will have to be a lot better than it was against Los Angeles, which connected on nine of its first 16 chances. Roberto Luongo will have to be on his game from the outset because Chicago is a tougher team to rebound against.
How They Got Here
Chicago: Defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-2, in the Western Conference Quarterfinals ... Finished the regular season with a 52-22-8 record for 112 points (1st, Central Division)
Vancouver: Defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2, in the Western Conference Quarterfinals ... Finished the regular season with a 49-28-5 record for 103 points (1st, Northwest Division)
|May 1||at Chicago||8 p.m.
|May 3||at Chicago||9 p.m.
|May 5||at Vancouver||9:30 p.m.
|May 7||at Vancouver||9:30 p.m.
|May 9||at Chicago *||8 p.m.
|May 11||at Vancouver *||9:30 p.m.
|May 13||at Chicago *||8 p.m.
|* if necessary|
|Series tied, 2-2|
|Oct. 21||Vancouver 3, Chicago 2||Recap|
|Nov. 22||Chicago 1, Vancouver 0||Recap|
|Jan. 23||Vancouver 5, Chicago 1||Recap|
|Mar. 5||Chicago 6, Vancouver 3||Recap|
|Stats Comparison (through Round 1)|
|Goals For (Avg.)||2.83||4.17|
|Goals Against (Avg.)||2.50||3.00|