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Blackhawks' Kane seeks 26-game streak vs. Canucks

by Brian Hedger

CANUCKS (11-11-8) at BLACKHAWKS (16-10-4)


CHICAGO -- Forward Patrick Kane can extend his point streak to 26 games when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Vancouver Canucks at United Center on Sunday.

If it happens, Kane's streak will become the NHL's longest since 1992-93, when Mats Sundin had a 30-game streak for the Quebec Nordiques. It would also move Kane past Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who put together 25 straight games with a point in 2010-11.

Kane has 16 goals and 23 assists during the streak, but said he's not concerned about it ending.

"I think it's gotten to the point where I try not to think about it too much," he said after Chicago's skate Sunday. "I'm just kind of focused on playing the game and trying to get better at certain things, and wipe the slate clean every night going into each game. Whatever happens, happens. I'm kind of done thinking about it."

Kane's teammates and opposing players aren't done thinking about it. The longer it goes, the more they get asked about the streak, which is already the longest by an American-born player and longest in Blackhawks history.

"I think we all realize it as it's happening," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think it's a pretty special thing. We're all behind him. We're all happy for him. You talk about the streaks he's beaten so far and the great players he's surpassed ... it's pretty amazing."

The Canucks will get the next chance to end it by keeping Kane off the scoresheet, which is their goal.

"He's a special player," said left wing Derek Dorsett, whose line could be matched up against Kane's. "I don't think it's any secret [how good he is], the way he's played since he got into the League. You can kind of expect a guy like that to put a streak like that together. Obviously, we'd like to put it to an end."

Dorsett missed practice in Vancouver on Saturday for personal reasons, but made the trip to Chicago. He participated in an optional skate at United Center on Sunday, which was attended by a handful of players.

Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa was the lone player who didn't skate for Chicago, but is expected to play his 1,200th NHL game. Hossa's line, centered by Toews, will likely be matched against Vancouver's top line.

That means defending the Sedin twins, who combined for four goals and nine points in the Canucks' 6-3 win in the first game against the Blackhawks at Rogers Arena on Nov. 21. Daniel Sedin had a hat trick and an assist. Henrik Sedin had a goal and four assists.

"We'd better be a lot more careful than the last time we saw them," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They were unbelievable that night, and they can do that any given night. Nobody has that chemistry in the League. There's some good tandems out there around the League that score and they've got a nice makeup, a nice line, but those two, they've got it to a different level."

Canucks forward Radim Vrbata will play in his 900th NHL game, but Vancouver will play without defenseman Dan Hamhuis for the first time since he sustained a facial fracture during a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Yannick Weber will play on the Canucks' second defensive pairing.

Goalie Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks. Goalie Ryan Miller is expected to start for the Canucks.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Alexandre Burrows

Chris Higgins - Jared McCann - Radim Vrbata

Derek Dorsett - Adam Cracknell - Brandon Prust

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Yannick Weber - Ben Hutton

Alex Biega - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Dan Hamhuis (facial fracture), Luca Sbisa (hand), Brandon Sutter (sports hernia), Jake Virtanen (hip pointer)

Scratched: Brandon Prust, Ronalds Kenins, Andrey Pedan


Teuvo Teravainen - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Dennis Rasmussen - Andrew Shaw

Brandon Mashinter - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Desjardins

Duncan Keith - Trevor van Riemsdyk

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

Trevor Daley - David Rundblad

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: Michal Rozsival, Ryan Garbutt

Status report: Rundblad will play for the fourth straight game after re-entering the lineup initially when Daley missed two games with an upper-body injury. ... Rozsival will be scratched for the second straight game.

Who's hot: Crawford is 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average and .978 save percentage in his past three starts. ... Daniel Sedin has a goal and three assists in the past two games for the Canucks, while Henrik Sedin has a goal and two assists.

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