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 defeat.
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 up."
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 2008-09.
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 Carolina.
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 incident.
Hansen has tallied three of his six goals in the last five games.
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.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved