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Vancouver
Canucks
43-24-10-5
Chicago
Blackhawks
20-43-11-8
OT
29 SOG
32 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
VAN
CHI
game preview

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Wednesday, 12.31.2003 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

Canucks-Blackhawks Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (20-9-6-2) at Chicago Blackhawks (9-19-7-3).

TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

The Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks hope to cap a solid December when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.

Vancouver, which has lost just three of its last 15 games (8-3-4), rebounded nicely from its worst loss of the season, a 6-2 defeat to Edmonton on Saturday, by pulling out a 3-2 victory at Colorado on Monday.

Mike Keane scored the winning goal on a deflection off Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles' skates with 4:35 to play as the Canucks moved six points in front of third-place Colorado in the division. Second-place Calgary is four points back of Vancouver, which is 6-3-3 in December.

"It was a fluky goal, but we'll take it," Keane said. "It went off someone. I just wanted to try to get it in front of the net and hopefully someone would whack at it. The old saying goes: Good things happen when you get it toward the net."

The Blackhawks are coming off a frustrating 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. they outshot the Penguins in each period, finishing with a 31-21 advantage, but were unable to get one past Pittsburgh goalie Sebastien Caron.

"We played three-quarters of the game in their end of the rink," Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said. "I don't know how many scoring chances we gave up, maybe four or five? We played our rear ends off. ... It's disappointing to lose, you get mad when you lose these, but it is nothing like you are getting outplayed by any stretch of the imagination."

Steve Passmore made 20 saves for Chicago, but dropped to 0-3 on the season despite allowing just five goals in his starts.

Michael Leighton figures to get the start against the Canucks. Leighton was named NHL defensive player of the week after winning two of his previous three starts, including posting back-to-back shutouts.

Chicago has scored more than three goals only once in its 38 games.

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 19 '04VAN 3 at CHI 4 - OTT. Arnason
Jan 27 '04CHI 2 at VAN 3M. Arvedson
Dec 31 '03VAN 4 at CHI 3 - OTT. Bertuzzi
Nov 20 '03CHI 2 at VAN 3 - OTS. Salo
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