Chicago and Vancouver meet for the first time on Halloween. Both teams will play the only game on Halloween night. The Blackhawks and Canucks will meet two more times after their game on Wednesday night. The Canucks and Blackhawks will both look to continue their impressive starts to the season.
Chicago has started out the season with a record of 6-3-3. Chicago is sitting in third place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks have lost two straight games but will look to get back on track with a win on Wednesday night. I believe Chicago has a solid chance against the Canucks.
Vancouver has started the season out with a record of 7-6, which has them in second place of the Pacific Division. The Canucks have been an up and down team throughout the season, largely due to all the young prospects. Vancouver streaks with how their young guys are doing, which normally follows a streaky path throughout the season.
The Canucks have impressed a lot of teams with their strong start to the season. Chicago has been solid to start the season after disappointing a lot of people with their play last season. I believe that both teams could put up memorable performances for Halloween night.
Last Season’s Matchups
Chicago and Vancouver met up three times last season. The first game of the season was held in Vancouver. The Canucks put on a show for the home crowd as Thomas Vanek scored two goals and added three assists in the win. Brock Boeser had a goal and three assists. Vancouver coasted to a 5-2 win.
The second game of the season series stayed in Vancouver. The Canucks were again able to pull off the win at home. Duncan Keith tallied two points for Chicago, but it was not enough. Brendan Gaunce scored two goals in the win for Vancouver. The Canucks won 4-2.
The final game of the season series was hosted by the Blackhawks. Jacob Markstrom turned away 39 of 41 shots in route to leading the Canucks to another win. Alexander Edler scored twice, and Nikolay Goldobin added two assists in route to a 5-2 win.
Even though the Canucks were not great last season, they were still able to sweep Chicago 3-0 in the season series. Not only did they sweep them, but they won by more than one goal in every game. I believe that the Blackhawks, with a healthier roster this season, will look for some revenge on Wednesday night.
The only injury to the Blackhawks lineup is defenseman Connor Murphy. Chicago was scared to begin the season that their starting goalie Corey Crawford would miss an extended amount of time to begin the season, but he has gotten back to healthy and is playing at a high level.
The Canucks roster is riddled with injuries at the moment. Sven Baertschi, Jay Beagle and Alexander Edler will all miss the game against Chicago. Chris Tanev is likely out against the Blackhawks as well. The Canucks are also missing goalies Thatcher Demko and Anders Nilsson to injury. Vancouver is missing some key players in their lineup but have still been finding ways to win to begin the season.
Richard Bachman is expected to get his first start of the season on Wednesday night. Bachman played in five games last season and posted a save percentage of .920 and a 2.64 GAA. In his career he has played 47 games and posted a .906 save percentage and a GAA of 2.90. He has never stuck around long in the NHL, but he could be needed for a little while with Vancouver’s injury problems in net.
I believe Corey Crawford will start in net for Chicago. Crawford has gone 3-2 to begin this season. He has posted a save percentage of .919 and a 2.44 GAA. Crawford missed most of last season, but in the parts that he played in he posted a .929 save percentage and a GAA of 2.27.
I give the advantage in net to the Blackhawks. Vancouver is having to bring up Bachman to help with their injury dilemma. I believe Crawford’s numbers will improve the more he plays. He is still recovering from his injury problems and is still cleaning the rust. He could be a real problem for the Canucks on Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks were terrible against the Canucks last season, but I do not believe it will begin that way this season. Chicago is looking to end a two-game winning streak, while the Canucks continue to be a streaky team. Right now, Vancouver is sitting in a playoff spot, but I do not believe it will last. The Canucks have not proven to me that they can maintain their level of success.
Chicago is listed at a money line of -124, which implies they win 55 percent of the time. I believe that this is just about right. While the Canucks are at home, I do not believe they will give the Blackhawks their third straight loss. I believe Chicago has the better lineup and with Crawford in net and Bachman playing his first game, the Blackhawks could take advantage of the mismatch. I am picking the road favorites.