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.