Canucks vs Hawks in Round 2 Again

For the second consecutive season, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks will meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last year was a thrilling and hard fought series that saw the young Blackhawks team prevail in six games. The Canucks will no doubt be looking for vengeance particularly because of how they were eliminated. Vancouver held leads in each and every game of that series but imploded in game 6.

These two teams have had quite a bitter rivalry dating back to the regular season last year when they had a line brawl. Things haven't gotten nicer since as Andrew Ladd and Ryan Kesler have a running feud going as well.

The two teams split their season series with both teams picking up one win on the road and at home. The Canucks began the series with a 3-2 win before the Blackhawks replied with a 1-0 win. Vancouver beat down on the Hawks 5-1 at home before Chicago returned the favour by defeating the Canucks 6-3.

In the regular season both teams were quite evenly matched stat wise. Offensively the Canucks had the edge by 6 goals while the Blackhawks took the defensive stats with 13 fewer goals allowed. Vancouver was better on the power play whereas Chicago had the advantage on the penalty kill.

This series has all the makings of an amazing battle as the Vancouver/Chicago rivalry is quickly rising in ranks of pure hatred. Another playoff match up may just put it on the level of the Colorado/Detroit rivalry in years past. This series should go the distance.

The Edge

Offense (Canucks) - Just barely though. The Canucks had six more goals in the regular season but have incredible depth. Six players had 20+ goals, the only team in the NHL with so many 20-goal scorers

Defense (Blackhawks) - No brainer here. Duncan Keith is a Norris Trophy candidate. He and his partner Brent Seabrook are considered one of the best shutdown pairs in the NHL. Hjalmarsson has come of age and Campbell is a solid top 4 D-man.

Goaltending (Canucks) - Halfway through the Canucks series with Los Angeles this would have been even. If the Luongo that showed up in game 6 is around for this series then this match up goes to Vancouver.

Coaching (Even) - Both Alain Vigneault and Joel Quenneville are amazing coaches and I feel their roles in this series, particularly with line matching, will be very important.

The Canucks announced that yesterday morning that their second round would begin on Friday, April 30th regardless of their potential opponent. With the Blackhawks finishing the Predators off last night, the stage was set. United Center will play host to game one of the Western Conference Semi-Final match up between Vancouver and Chicago.

(2) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks

Game 1 - April 30th @ TBD in Chicago
^Game 2 - May 2nd @ TBD in Chicago
^Game 3 - May 4th @ TBD in Vancouver
^Game 4 - May 6th @ TBD in Vancouver
*^Game 5 - May 8th @ TBD in Chicago
*^Game 6 - May 10th @ TBD in Vancouver
*^Game 7 - May 12th @ TBD in Chicago

*If necessary
^Date not confirmed