Canucks-Blackhawks Preview

The Vancouver Canucks have appeared to cool off after a lengthy

win streak, and that’s not a promising sign heading into a matchup

with the Western Conference leaders.

The Chicago Blackhawks seek a sixth win in seven games Friday

night while trying to send the rival Canucks to a third consecutive


After outscoring opponents 24-8 during a seven-game win streak,

Vancouver (20-11-6) has netted three goals in the first two of its

three consecutive road contests. Chris Higgins tallied his club’s

only score in a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Thursday, the Canucks’ first

regulation defeat this month.

“We need to move by it, not overthink this and get ready to play

our next game,” coach John Tortorella said.

The Blackhawks have earned a pair of 3-1 victories since a 7-3

drubbing in Toronto on Saturday, and Patrick Kane continued his

red-hot play by scoring the go-ahead goal Tuesday in Nashville.

Kane has five goals and 13 assists during a 10-game point streak

and at least one point in 22 of his last 23 contests.

Chicago also scored two power-play goals against the Predators

and improved to 14 for 41 (34.1 percent) during a 10-game streak

with at least one.

“It’s been hot for us,” Kane said. “Hopefully we can keep it


The power-play success has also helped Chicago (25-7-5) win

three in a row at home, one shy of matching a season high.

The Blackhawks won 2-1 in Vancouver on Nov. 23 by scoring both

goals in a nine-second span in the third period.

Kane assisted on the first of those, netted by Andrew Shaw, and

Marcus Kruger had the other. Corey Crawford outdueled Roberto

Luongo by making 36 saves but he’s expected to miss at least

another week because of a lower-body injury.

Antti Raanta has gone 5-1-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average

since Crawford went out and is 7-1-1 with a 2.26 GAA in 10

appearances this season. The Blackhawks also brought up former

Canucks netminder Jason LaBarbera from the minors Thursday.

Chicago acquired LaBarbera from Edmonton on Saturday because

former backup Nikolai Khabibulin is still dealing with a groin

injury. LaBarbera appeared in nine games for Vancouver in


After Luongo was pulled in the third period Thursday, it’s

unknown if the Canucks will start him or Eddie Lack. Lack stopped

all seven shots he faced against the Stars and posted his first

career shutout in his most recent start Dec. 9 against


Lack has never faced Chicago while Luongo is 2-1-1 with a 1.71

GAA in his last four matchups. Luongo wasn’t in net for the

Canucks’ most recent visit to the United Center, a 4-3 shootout

loss Feb. 19.

Marian Hossa had two goals in that game but was forced to leave

when Jannik Hansen hit him in the back of the head early in the

third period. Hansen drew a one-game suspension from that


Hansen has tallied three of his six goals in the last five


Henrik Sedin has three goals and 12 assists in his past 10

regular-season meetings but hasn’t scored a goal in his last seven.

Daniel Sedin had six points (two goals, four assists) in his last

three matchups.

Kane has at least one point in five of his last six games

against Vancouver, totaling three goals and four assists, but he

has just two assists in his past three.