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Blackhawks shut out Canucks; Kane extends streak

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 26 games in the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at United Center on Sunday, but goalie Corey Crawford is on a hot streak of his own.

Crawford made 30 saves against the Canucks for his second straight shutout, fourth of the season and 16th of his NHL career.

"It's a matter of preparing yourself and being focused each game," Crawford said. "Just because you play well in the last one doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and our team is starting to come around. Our [penalty kill] is really strong, and it seems like it's getting better and better. We just have to keep it going."

Kane kept his streak going with a secondary assist on a power-play goal by Duncan Keith that made it 1-0 Chicago at 11:51 of the first period.

The streak, which is the longest by an American-born NHL player and the longest in Blackhawks history, surpassed a 25-game streak by Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby in 2010-11. It is the longest since Mats Sundin had a 30-game streak in 1992-93 for the Quebec Nordiques.

Kane's assist came off a pass to Keith at the point to start a sequence that eventually turned into Keith's goal off a snap shot. Artemi Panarin, who hit the left post with a one-timer after Keith gave him a feed, returned the favor after getting his own rebound.

Kane was sitting on the bench when he realized he had added another game to his streak.

"I passed it and it went in 10 or 15 seconds later," he said. "I actually didn't know I got an assist until I heard them announce it. I was hoping they didn't get it wrong and then maybe they've got to call it back."

Rookie center Dennis Rasmussen, rookie forward Brandon Mashinter and forward Andrew Shaw scored for Chicago (17-10-4). Shaw and Rasmussen each had an assist for a two-point night, and Mashinter's goal was the first of his NHL career.

Crawford's hot stretch started in Chicago's 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at United Center on Dec. 6. Since then, he's allowed two goals on 123 shots in four starts (4-0-0), has a 0.50 goals-against average and .984 save percentage, and hasn't allowed a goal in 140:46.

"I started out [the season] pretty strong, [but] kind of dipped a little bit," Crawford said. "Now I'm able to get back and have that focus and that preparation ... that battle throughout the whole game."

His shutout was nearly negated with an apparent Vancouver power-play goal by Daniel Sedin with 6:30 left in the third. Chicago's 2-0 lead was preserved, though, when the goal was called off because of a hand pass.

"I thought we played well," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "I thought the second period was good for us. I thought they got going a little bit at the start of the third. I didn't think we were quite as good. Even if that one goes in on the power play that got disallowed, it's a 2-1 game with six minutes left and anything can happen."

Ryan Miller made 26 saves for Vancouver (11-12-8), which lost the opener of a six-game road trip after winning its previous two games.

"Maybe we didn't play our best game, but most of the time we kept them to the outside and our [penalty kill] was good for the most part," said Henrik Sedin, who was called for the hand pass on the disallowed goal. "If you're in the game against a tough team like this on the road, late in the third, you have to be happy with that. We had our chance, but we just couldn't score."

Neither team scored in the second period, but the goalies had a lot to do with it. Crawford made 14 saves, and Miller had 11, including a post-to-post save at 15:01 to deny Panarin a goal on a one-timer set up by Kane.

Crawford made back-to-back saves at 8:51 of the second on a slap shot by Ben Hutton and a follow-up wrist shot by Yannick Weber off the rebound.

In the third, Rasmussen scored at 11:36 to make it 2-0, tapping the puck into the net after a shot by left wing Bryan Bickell got through Miller. Shaw scored into an empty net with 30.8 seconds left, and Mashinter scored the fourth goal with 9.8 seconds to play.

Chicago right wing Marian Hossa played his 1,200th NHL game, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson his 500th, and Canucks forward Radim Vrbata his 900th.

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