Canucks vs. Blackhawks Preview
CHICAGO, IL (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks have used a renewed scoring punch to record three straight wins following a four-game skid.
Given what happened last month against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks probably wouldn't mind scoring as many goals as they can Friday night at the United Center.
Vancouver (13-7-3) has outscored opponents 17-5 during its win streak after being outscored 17-7 during an 0-3-1 slide.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Blackhawks –108 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Canucks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 70% of more than 290 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks +100.
One of those losses was a 7-1 rout at home Nov. 20 in which Canucks coach Alain Vigneault accused the Blackhawks of trying to run up the score, a charge Chicago coach Joel Quenneville denied.
"We basically embarrassed ourselves in front of our fans, and they did everything they could to rub it in our face," Vigneault said. "(It's) 6-0 and they throw their No. 1 power-play unit when it's 5-on-3. They have every right to do that. They did it. They were pushing it, and they did."
Perhaps also still stinging from consecutive playoff defeats to the Blackhawks, the Canucks would probably love a repeat of Wednesday night's 7-2 win at Calgary.
Mason Raymond recorded his second career hat trick, scoring twice during a four-goal third period. Alex Burrows had a goal in his third straight game after scoring once in his first 10 following offseason shoulder surgery.
"We're playing the right way," said Burrows, who had a career-best 35 goals in 2009-10. "We just have to keep it going."
The Blackhawks are looking to match their season high with a fourth straight win but nearly blew a four-goal lead at home to St. Louis on Tuesday night.
In its first game since learning star winger Marian Hossa would be out for at least two weeks with a lower-body injury, Chicago built a 5-1 advantage in the first 31:07 but had that trimmed to one with 13:58 remaining.
Following a timeout, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews scored to give the Blackhawks a 7-5 victory, their sixth in eight tries.
"We kind of stopped playing there when we had a lead," said forward Patrick Sharp, who scored in his fifth straight game. "It seems like we've done that a few times this year. Nice to see the response after the timeout."
Chicago (14-11-2) has responded well against the Canucks lately, having won three straight in a burgeoning and sometimes heated rivalry. One of those victories was 2-1 in a shootout at the United Center on Oct. 20.
Toews, Sharp and Kane scored on Roberto Luongo in the extra session, while Mikael Samuelsson shot wide on the Canucks' final attempt against Marty Turco.
Luongo has played in each of the three consecutive defeats to Chicago and been sent to the bench early in two of those games. He has a 4.98 goals-against average during the skid.
The Blackhawks, though, haven't won three in a row at home against Vancouver since Dec. 21, 2000-Nov. 9, 2001.
To accomplish that feat, they might look for another strong effort from Turco against the Canucks. The veteran has won two of his past three matchups while posting a 1.30 GAA.Should he start, Turco could use a good performance after giving up 11 goals in his previous two starts and sitting the past three games in place of Corey Crawford, who stopped 27 shots in the Nov. 20 win.
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