Hawks: You Ain’t Seen Tough Yet

Blackhawks face Vancouver Canucks in the second round

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The Blackhawks have ruled Canada like Prime Minister Stephen Harper this season, compiling a 15-5 record (including playoffs) versus Canadian teams this season.

But this round's matchup against the Vancouver Canucks will provide a much bigger challenge than Calgary in the first round. Chicago and Vancouver split the four game regular-season series with each team winning a game at home and away.

When the Canucks' opponents visit General Motors Place, they often find their offensive game plans to be about as valuable as GM's stock. That's because the Canucks feature Roberto Luongo, one of the hottest goalies of the playoffs. Loungo posted a 4-0 record in Round One with a lights-out 1.15 GAA and .962 save percentage against St. Louis. He also netted his first career playoff shutout in Game 2. The last time Luongo faced the Hawks, he registered a 26 save shutout.

A key to this series will be the play of Blackhawks rookie Left Wing Kris Versteeg, because "Steeger" led the Hawks with 5 points in the season series with the Canucks.

"We try to keep it simple and play within our limits and let the guys like {Martin} Havlat do their thing, and just try to play hard every night," Versteeg said.

The Hawks currently have the dubious distinction of the longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. 1961 was the last time they drank from the Cup, supplementing their championships in 1934 and 1938.

It may not be the longest championship drought in the city, but for die-hard hockey fans, it's way past time.

Read more of Paul Bank's work on The Sports Bank, the NBC Chicago Street Team Blog and Washingtontimes.com.

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