Vancouver at Chicago
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Friday, December 20, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
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.
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.
1. Chicago has recorded at least one power-play goal in each of its last 10 contests.
2. Vancouver has killed off 25-of-26 short-handed situations in December.
3. The Blackhawks recalled Jason LaBarbera from Rockford of the American Hockey League and assigned fellow G Kent Simpson to the IceHogs.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Canucks 2
Stats and Records