Skip to main content

Blackhawks-Canucks Preview @NHL

Vancouver has dominated Chicago in recent years. This season, the Blackhawks aren't the only Central Division team against which the Canucks have thrived.

After ending a three-game losing streak with yet another win against the Central, the Canucks look to extend a seven-game home winning streak over the Blackhawks when the teams meet Sunday night at GM Place.

Vancouver (9-10-1) improved to 6-2-0 against Central Division teams with a 4-2 win over St. Louis on Friday night.

The Canucks are 1-8-1 against the rest of the Western Conference.

Vancouver easily won its first meeting with Chicago (7-9-2) this season, 5-0 on Oct. 25 at the United Center.

The Canucks have won five straight overall against the Blackhawks, and are 10-0-1 in the series since a 3-2 road loss on Dec. 17, 2002. Chicago has lost seven in a row at Vancouver since a 5-4 win on Oct. 4, 2001.

Last month's victory over the Blackhawks remains Vancouver's highest-scoring game of the season. Following that win, the Canucks failed to score more than two goals in regulation in nine straight games before Friday's win as they outshot the Blues 44-21.

Markus Naslund scored twice for the Canucks, who entered this weekend second-to-last in the NHL with 2.35 goals per game.

"Three goals is a blowout for us this year," said Naslund, who had his first two-goal game since Dec. 23, 2005. "The key is we're generating chances now and we got four tonight, hopefully we'll get another game like this and a lot of guys are going to get their confidence back."

While Vancouver is coming off only its second win in eight games, Chicago is 3-0-2 following seven straight losses in regulation.

Tuomo Ruutu scored to tie the game with 9:21 left in regulation and got the only goal in the shootout, leading the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over Anaheim on Friday night.

Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin made 42 saves in his first start since Oct. 21. The four-time All-Star missed the previous nine games because of a broken index finger on the hand he wears his blocking pad.

"That's what he's there for," Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney said. "He's played very well after a three-week hiatus and faced a lot of shots. That bodes well for him."

Khabibulin is 5-2-0 with a 3.27 goals-against average in seven games. He has struggled in 21 games against the Canucks, going 6-12-2 with a 3.43 GAA.

Chicago had killed off all but one of 32 short-handed situations over its previous five games, but Anaheim was awarded 10 consecutive power plays during one stretch and converted two of them into second-period goals.

Radim Vrbata, who leads Chicago with 16 points (five goals and 11 assists), has just three assists in 11 games against the Canucks.

View More