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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (20-11-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (25-7-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks and their red-hot power play look to deal the Vancouver Canucks a second straight defeat on Friday night as the two clubs get together at the United Center.
The Blackhawks rank third in the NHL on the power play, clicking at 24.6 percent. They have increased that total by scoring on the man advantage in 10 straight games, going 14-for-41 in that span.
Chicago scored twice on the power play in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Nashville, with Patrick Kane and Nick Leddy lighting the lamp while up a man. Duncan Keith also scored in regulation while adding an assist.
Antti Raanta made 27 saves for the Blackhawks, who have won two straight and five of their last six.
"We've been getting some big goals lately at the right time," said Kane. "Hopefully we can keep this momentum going, especially on the power play because you want to take advantage of them."
Kane has been a big part of that. He is tied for second in the NHL with nine power-play goals and tied for third with 19 points on the man advantage.
Overall, the 25-year-old American is second in the league with 46 points, notching five goals and 13 assists over a 10-game point streak.
Kane has eight goals and 11 assists in 24 career games versus the Canucks, picking up an assist in a 2-1 road victory on Nov. 23.
Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger had the goals for Chicago and Corey Crawford made 36 saves in the 'Hawks' fourth victory over the Canucks in the past seven meetings.
With Crawford and backup Nikolai Khabibulin out with lower-body injuries, Raanta is likely to face the Canucks for the first time in his career tonight. The rookie is 7-1-1 with a 2.26 goals against average in 10 games (eight starts) this season.
The Canucks are hoping to avoid a third straight loss tonight and second in a row in regulation. They had a seven-game winning streak snapped with a shootout loss at Minnesota on Tuesday, then dropped a 4-1 decision last night at Dallas.
Chris Higgins scored and Roberto Luongo yielded four goals on 19 shots in 42- plus minutes. He was beaten twice in a 15-second span before the game was five minutes old.
"It was tough start, going down two goals early," said Luongo. "Obviously not the way we want to start a game."
Eddie Lack finished the contest with seven saves in relief.
It is unknown if Luongo will get a chance to rebound tonight or if the rookie Lack will face the Blackhawks for the first time.
Luongo made 27 saves in the earlier loss to Chicago, falling to 15-10-2 with a tie, four shutouts and a 2.17 GAA versus the club lifetime.
12/20 10:49:26 ET
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