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Canucks believe Blackhawks can avoid Presidents’ Trophy curse
The Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks don’t bond over much — other than their mutual dislike for each other — but the Canucks know exactly what faces the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, and just how tough it might be.
Vancouver won the Presidents’ Trophy — which the Hawks are on the verge of clinching — each of the past two seasons. Two years ago, they made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Boston Bruins. But last year, they were bounced by the eight-seeded Los Angeles Kings in five games.
“It’s very difficult,” Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider said. “Sometimes those teams have been battling for their lives just to get into the playoffs, and they’re in that mode and they’re hard to play against.”
But Schneider raved about the talent and leadership on the Hawks roster, and said he doesn’t think they’ll have any trouble turning it back on again in the playoffs after a relatively pressure-free final couple of weeks of the regular season.
“I don’t think they’ve really turned anything off right now,” Schneider said. “They seem to be going better than any team in the league right now. Thew personnel they have in that room, I don’t think will allow them to cruise into the playoffs. I’m sure they’re going to go full throttle.”
Canucks forward Chris Higgins agreed.
“They have so many veterans in that room, guys that have won the Stanley Cup,” he said. “The way they’re playing, I don’t think they’re going to have any letdowns.”
ROSTER UPDATE: Patrick Sharp (shoulder) missed his fifth straight game on Monday. But Joel Quenneville said it was “highly likely” he’d return Wednesday at Edmonton. … Ray Emery (lower-body) was back in uniform as Corey Crawford’s backup after missing two straight games. … Michal Rozsival is questionable with an upper-body injury, though he did practice. … Michal Handzus is a likely scratch tonight after getting in a lot of extra work during the morning skate. … Brandon Bollig and Daniel Carcillo are both likely in the lineup tonight.