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Preview: Vancouver Canucks take two-game losing streak to Chicago's Mad House
The Canucks have lost two straight and will look to turn it around against a team they know very well, and a team that played a pivotal part in Vancouver's last losing slide, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vancouver lost on Thursday, 4-1 to Dallas, and on Tuesday, 3-2 in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild.
"It's our first game we haven't got a point in, I think, nine or 10 games," Canucks head coach John Tortorella said (NHL.com) of the team's loss to Big D. "We need to move by it and not overthink this and get ready to play our next game."
The Blackhawks beat Vancouver 2-1 on November 23, after rallying with two consecutive goals in the third period, in the middle of a period that saw the Canucks drop eight of 10 games from Nov. 5-25.
Chicago has hardly taken their foot off the gas since then and winger Patrick Kane is second in the NHL's scoring race with 46 points, just five behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the league lead. Patrick Sharp is second on the Hawks with 34 points, Jonathan Toews comes next with 33 points, defenceman Duncan Keith brings up the blueline with 32 points, and Marian Hossa is fifth with 30.
It's been a banner year for the Hawks – individually and as a group – and Chicago is once again first in the West, first in the NHL, with 55 points.
"I've always felt like I've been a goal-scorer my whole hockey career," Kane told NHL.com correspondent Brian Hedger, in a story published Friday. Kane also has 20 goals to lead the Hawks.
"For whatever reason when I came into the League as a rookie and maybe a few years after that, I was more of a playmaker because of the way I play the game and the way things opened up for some of my teammates. As time goes on you learn to find new ways to score goals."
The Canucks will once again be without defencemen Ryan Stanton and Alex Edler, as well as injured forward Alex Burrows.
Chicago is essentially fully healthy. Goalie Corey Crawford is injured but his replacement is 24-year-old Antti Raanta, who is 7-1-1 on the year through eight starts.