Preview: Canucks at Blackhawks
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[December 20, 2013]
The Vancouver Canucks have followed
their seven-game winning streak with a pair of setbacks to begin their
three-game road trip. Vancouver vies to salvage the finale on Friday,
when it visits the well-rested Chicago Blackhawks. The Canucks extended
their point streak to eight games with a 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota
on Tuesday before suffering their first regulation defeat since Nov. 30
with a 4-1 setback to Dallas two nights later.
While Vancouver has been busy, Chicago has been able to catch its
breath after winning five of six to complete a hectic stretch of 19
games in 34 days. "It’s been a great season so far. We’re having
fun," captain Jonathan Toews said during the team's annual skate
with family members at the United Center on Thursday. "I think it’s
nice to enjoy moments like this because we have been playing so many
games and working really hard to get to where we are."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS2, NHLN, CSN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (20-11-6): Roberto Luongo remained stuck on 249
victories with Vancouver after he yielded four goals on 19 shots to
earn an early exit versus Dallas. "We have to pick him up once in a
while, too," coach John Tortorella said of Luongo, who likely will
be back in net on Friday in an attempt to avenge his team's 2-1 loss
to Chicago on Nov. 23. Chris Higgins recorded his third goal in four
contests on Thursday and Mike Santorelli notched an assist to extend
his point streak to four games.
[to top of second column]
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (25-7-5): Patrick Kane scored his
team-leading 20th goal of the season in Tuesday's 3-1 triumph
over Nashville to extend his point streak to 10 games — two shy
of his career high. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has
collected five goals and 13 assists in that stretch and has
notched at least one point in 22 of his last 23 contests. Kane
notched an assist on Andrew Shaw's tying goal in the third
period in the first meeting with Vancouver before Marcus Kruger
scored the eventual winner nine seconds later.
Chicago has recorded at least one power-play goal in each of
its last 10 contests.
Vancouver has killed off 25-of-26 short-handed situations in
The Blackhawks recalled Jason LaBarbera from Rockford of the
American Hockey League and assigned fellow G Kent Simpson to the
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Canucks 2
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