The Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks engaged in one of the most entertaining playoffs series of the 2010-11 postseason. As a matter of fact, all of their matchups in the last couple of years have been fairly exciting as these teams have made their ascent up the Western Conference power rankings. Vancouver is 2-4 SU in their last six, Chicago 4-2 SU in their last six!

The Vancouver Canucks could really use a win in this spot but the Blackhawks are playing better and they’ve really had Roberto Luongo’s number of late. The Blackhawks look like the best play in this contest as their multitude of weapons will lead the way. 

Corey CrawfordThe Vancouver Canucks can win because… 

They are still the West champs. Until someone knocks them off the pedestal, they are going to be in the mix to repeat. 

There’s no question that they’ve struggled to start the year and they haven’t found their rhythm, but that was also the case last season, until they went on a tear winning 23 of 32 games. 

Facing Chicago should bring back some memories from the first-round of the playoffs last year and that will likely spark some intensity. It’s been lacking, but Chicago has quickly become one of their biggest rivals in recent years and the Canucks will be prepared for a fight. 

Roberto Luongo has a decent track record against the Chicago Blackhawks with a career 2.25 GAA. He’s played better of late and approaching those career numbers will be crucial to a Canucks win. 

The Chicago Blackhawks can win because… 

The Canucks have been wildly inconsistent this season.  Just when it looked like they had turned the corner with a pair of wins over Washington and Calgary, the Canucks have come back with two duds against Minnesota and St. Louis. 

The concerns have been team-wide as the Canucks aren’t scoring many goals (just 27 in the 12 games other than the 12 they scored against Washington and Calgary) and the goaltending has been leaky. Facing the Blackhawks won’t help. 

The Canucks goaltending woes started last postseason after they went up 3-0 on the Blackhawks in the opening round. Roberto Luongo started to show signs of frailty after that as he was one of the main reasons that the Blackhawks managed to come back and tie the series at 3-3 and nearly win it. 

The Blackhawks have played well of late, going 3-0-1 in their last four. They’ve scored 17 goals in that span and they should get a handful against Vancouver as well. 

The Canucks are still hungover and the Blackhawks know a little something about being in that role. They’ll take advantage on Sunday. 

Outlook & NHL betting prediction: 

The Canucks are a decent-sized dog in the NHL odds, to the point where you might be enticed to take them but they are just far too inconsistent to trust at this point. The Blackhawks have somewhat had their number of late and that’s likely to continue. 

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has a career GAA of 2.06 against the Canucks and on the season, he’s 6-2-2 with a 2.33 GAA. Considering how much the Blackhawks have been a thorn in Luongo’s side, it’s safe to say that Chicago has the edge in net. 

But even the overall moods of these teams tips the scales into Chicago’s favor. They are atop the Central Division standings with an 8-3-2 record while the Canucks are stumbling at 6-7-1 and are fourth in the Northwest Division. 

The Blackhawks are 5-0-2 at home this season while the Canucks are just 3-5-0 on the road. Put the Blackhawks in your NHL picks

Pick: Blackhawks