Banged-up Canucks brace for Kane, Blackhawks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Patrick Kane hopes to whet his palate again Wednesday night.
"It's always fun scoring goals," Kane told reporters Tuesday in Chicago. "So I think when you get a taste of that, you feel like you're getting hot. You want to keep it going."
Kane ranks among the National Hockey League's top scorers with 11 goals and seven assists after his latest run yielded six and four. He has earned a point in all but one of Chicago's 12 games.
The Canucks are not the same version of the squad that waged several heated playoff and regular-season battles with the Blackhawks in the past. But Kane will not have trouble getting motivated for Wednesday's contest against a young Vancouver club that has surprised people despite enduring several injuries to key players.
"That was always a fun rivalry," Kane said. "I know it's not the same as it once was. But it's still fun to go into Vancouver and play in that rink."
But the Blackhawks have not had much fun on the power play lately. Kane and company have only scored on two of 14 power-play opportunities in the past four games. The Blackhawks split those contests.
"I think we need to do a better job of recovering (the puck) off the (first) shot, and maybe some plays will open up," Kane said. "But it's still a work in progress."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville wants his club to get off to a good start on what he calls "an all-important three-game trip."
"We're playing three teams that are all in the (playoff) mix," Quenneville told reporters. "All are improved. They're all younger and have some speed through the lineup."
Swedish rookie Elias Pettersson, 19, is one player who has added to Vancouver's speed this season. He has also provided some scoring punch to make up for the retirements of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Pettersson scored two goals, including the winner, Monday as the Canucks posted a 5-2 home win over the Minnesota Wild, who had won five straight beforehand. Despite missing six games to a concussion, he has seven goals in as many games -- including a pair of two-goal performances.
"He gets the building going like no other player -- like Hank and Danny (Sedin) used to do, so it's nice," Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom told reporters.
"He has really good hockey sense, and it's not just offensively," Canucks coach Travis Green said. "He's got a good mind for the game and his details are sharp."
Pettersson's on-ice sharpness was evident Monday as he scored on a one-timer and then capitalized on a breakaway after blocking a shot and taking a lead pass from Brock Boeser. The rookie said he wants to do his best at everything to help the team win.
"If I have to block a shot, I'll do my best at that, too," he said.
The Canucks will likely need another strong effort from him against Chicago. Vancouver lost center Brandon Sutter to an apparent shoulder injury against Minnesota. Coach Travis Green said Sutter is expected to be out "weeks."
The Canucks are also again expected to be without injured defensemen Alex Edler (knee) and Chris Tanev (hip) as well as winger Sven Baertschi (concussion). Vancouver called up two forwards -- Brendan Gaunce and Darren Archibald -- from Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday. That suggests another forward could also be unable to suit up.
"I don't know what's going on around this team," Markstrom said. "We keep getting injuries."