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Canucks game day: Swedes unite as Canucks look to close out road trip with win in Chicago

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Photo credit:© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
2 months ago
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The Vancouver Canucks (35-12-6) look to finish up a five-game road trip in style when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks (14-35-3) at United Center.
The Canucks are 2-1-1 through the first four games of their trip that started a week ago in Carolina.
The Canucks picked up three of a possible four points from a busy weekend in Detroit and Washington. They went to overtime in both games falling to the Red Wings but responding with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals. JT Miller scored the winner at 4:55 of OT after Conor Garland and Nils Höglander had scored earlier goals. Thatcher Demko stopped 33 of 35 shots for the win in goal.
Höglander scored in both games over the weekend. It’s the fourth time this season he has scored in back to back games. He’s up to 16 goals now and is the only player in the NHL with more than 13 goals and no power play points. He’s also one one of two players in the league to average less than 12 minutes of ice time this season and score 15 goals (Arizona’s Michael Carcone is the other).
Miller has just two points through four games on this road trip. They’re both goals and both have snapped 2-2 ties and been game winners (in Carolina and Washington).
Elias Lindholm continues to settle in with the Canucks. After scoring a pair in his debut on Tuesday in Carolina, he has been held off the scoresheet in the past three games. He has 2+0=2, eight shots and is 57.5% in the face-off circle in his four games since being acquired from Calgary. As Irfaan Gaffar speculates, it’s possible Lindholm plays on a line with fellow Swedes Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander tonight.
Defenceman Nikita Zadorov will serve the second and final game of his two-game suspension assessed Saturday after a match penalty in Detroit. Mark Friedman drew into the line-up in his absence on Sunday and played for the first time since November 30th. On Monday, the Canucks recalled Jett Woo from AHL Abbotsford. If he draws in tonight, it will be the 23-year-old’s NHL debut.
Chicago, which sits last in the NHL standings, has lost six straight after falling 4-3 in overtime to the Rangers on Friday. The Hawks rallied from a 3-1 third period deficit to force OT. Alex Vlassic, Nick Foligno and Jason Dickinson scored for the Blackhawks.
Goals have been hard to come by for the Hawks who are tied with San Jose as the lowest scoring team in the league averaging 2.08 goals per game. The Blackhawks have been shutout in four of their last eight games including a 2-0 loss in Vancouver on January 22nd. Beyond that, they have been held to two goals or fewer in 10 of the last 12 outings and have just 14 goals over those 12 games.
Hawks rookie and team scoring leader Connor Bedard remains out of the line-up, but is getting closer to a return to game action. He is skating with the team and could be back as early as next week. Bedard has been out of the line-up since January 5th and has missed 13 games with a jaw injury.
Jason Dickinson leads the Hawks with 16 goals. With Bedard sidelined, Philipp Kurashev is Chicago’s top point producer with 27.
The Hawks have the worst PP in the NHL at 12.1% converting a league-low 19 times this season. Nick Foligno leads the team with four power play goals this season.
Despite the struggles of the team in front of him, Petr Mrazek has posted impressive numbers in goal accounting for 12 of the team’s 14 victories with a 2.92 GAA and a .910 save percentage. He gets the start tonight. The next goal against will be the 100th he’s allowed this season.
This game completes the three-game season series between these teams. The Canucks were 4-3 winners in Chicago on December 15th and triumphed 2-0 on home ice last month. The Canucks have won six straight and nine of their last 10 games against the Blackhawks.
Tonight’s referees: Steve Kozari & Mitch Dunning.

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