After squeezing out a late victory against the Flames in Calgary on Tuesday night, the Blackhawks head to Vancouver to take on the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Thursday evening.
While the Blackhawks continue to play a game of hopscotch with both the Blue Jackets and the Ducks to see who will finish as the league's true basement-dweller, do not be surprised to see the – primarily young – men of four feathers continue to step on the gas and juice out as many points as possible.
In what's been a shock to no one, forward Lukas Reichel continues to shine. His two assists against the Flames added to his recent hot streak of six points in six games. The young winger has really put his skillset on display as of late – particularly his passing ability – and will be someone to keep an eye on as the season plays out to its finish.
Aside from the losses of Philipp Kurashev, Cole Guttman and Colin Blackwell, the Blackhawks seem to be heading into Thursday evening's game relatively healthy. The same cannot be said for the Canucks, who have four players on long-term injured reserve and two more on injured reserve, but they've been dealing with those injuries all season long. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, for example, has been on LTIR since mid-February.
Despite being a bit beat up, the Canucks still have two centers at the top of their lineup who are still causing problems for opponents. Elias Petterson has a 100-point season within his reach at a whopping 97 points (37 G, 60 A) in 75 games. While not quite as menacing, J.T. Miller is at a point-per-game pace with 76 points (29 G, 47 A). From the blue line, defenseman Quinn Hughes is not far behind in terms of point production as another point-per-game player at 73 points (7 G, 66 A) on the season.
Both of the prior matchups between these two teams this season have occurred after the calendar flipped to 2023. Chicago lost 5-2 in Vancouver on Jan. 24, which was the first game after new coach Rick Tocchet took over midseason for Bruce Boudreau. Two weeks ago, the Canucks skated into the United Center and left with a 4-2 victory. But Vancouver has lost all four games since.
It's getting down to the wire in the season, with Chicago in a three-way tie alongside the Ducks and Blue Jackets for the top draft lottery odds. Unfortunately, all we and do is sit back and watch as this part of the story unfolds.
But maybe the Hawks can at least score some goals along the way?
Tale of the Tape (statistics from this season)
Blackhawks — Statistic — Canucks
43.22% (31st) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 47.79% (24th)
41.8% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 47.66% (23rd)
2.42 (32nd) — Goals per game — 3.3 (14th)
3.62 (25th) — Goals against per game — 3.55 (30th)
52.5% (6th) — Faceoffs — 49.5% (18th)
16.4% (29th) — Power play — 22.2% (12th)
76.4% (20th) — Penalty kill — 70.7% (32nd)
How to watch
When: 9 p.m. CT
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Radio: WGN 720