HNIC Star Selector - Game 3 Preview - Canucks vs Blackhawks

I was good she was hot
Stealin everything she got
I was bold she was over the worst of it
Gave me gear thank you dear bring your sister over here
Let her dance with me just for the hell of it

No, I haven’t turned into a poet this weekend and the above lyrics aren’t stolen from Robert Frost or William Shakespeare.  Blackhawk or Fratelli fans will instantly recognize the chorus from Chelsea Dagger, the catchy tune played after each Hawk goal in the ‘Madhouse on Madison’.  If you have ever been lucky enough to watch a game in Chicago you know how much energy and momentum the song creates (writers note:  I use to like this song but as a Canuck fan I had to remove it from my iPod). The Blackhawks need an energy boost.  Coming off a late season playoff push and two straight losses to open the series in Vancouver, a victory in tonight’s game is critical to the Hawks Stanley Cup defense hopes.  Jonathan Toews has to start producing some offense, 0 goals 0 assists and -2 through the first two games, and starting goalie, Corey Crawford,  needs to steal a game.  The Canucks attack has been balanced and they will be getting a boost from the return of suspended forward Raffi Torres.  Torres is an effective player especially when he plays physical and there is no doubt that Vancouver has been dominating the battle of the boards.

Some other thoughts:

1. Which Roberto Luongo will show up tonight?  The game 1 version was rock steady making every key save with exceptional rebound control.  Game 2?  Not so much.  A soft goal to Viktor Stalberg and juicy rebound gift to Ben Smith allowed the Hawks to keep it close.  That said, Lou made some key saves late in the third period and will be ready to go tonight.  For my money I am going to have him in my starting five and will strongly considering making Loungo my captain.

2. Can the Canucks continue getting secondary scoring?  Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins and defenseman Alex Edler have accounted for 4 of Vancouver’s 6 playoff goals and their strong play has allowed coach Alain Vigneault to roll 4 lines throughout the first two games.  Vancouver will be looking to come at the Blackhawks in waves and taking a sleeper pick from the Canuck roll players might be a great way to differentiate yourself from the Star Selector pack.

3. Can Corey Crawford steal a game?  There is no one that will blame Crawford for the first two losses in Vancouver and if fact most pundits agree that he has kept the games close enough for the Hawks to have at at least a split at this point.  Vancouver has an opportunity to take a stranglehold on this series and will be coming out strong.  Crawford needs to be at his best tonight if the Hawks have any hopes of getting back into the winners column.

4. What do Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharpe, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler have in common thus far in the 2011 playoffs?  If you answered they are all goal less than congratulations you have won a boot of beer from WestEnd, the Chicago Blackhawks official pre-game tavern (editors note - costs associated with airfare, accommodations and the boot of beer are your responsibility).  Someone from the aforementioned group will bust out tonight it is just a matter of picking the right combination for your Star Selector starting lineup.

Good luck with your picks tonight and see you at Crown Royal Star Selector @ 8:00pm EST tonight!

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