(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks hope to rebound from a loss in the opener of a lengthy homestand when they welcome the Vancouver Canucks for Wednesday's tilt at United Center.
The Blackhawks recently went through some up and downs on a seven-game road trip but they ended the swing on a positive note, picking up wins in the last two outings at Winnipeg and St. Louis. Chicago currently sit in third place in Central Division, where it leads the Jets by three points and is five in back of the Blues.
However, the club dropped a shootout decision to Arizona on Monday, as it failed to earn its first three-game winning streak since an eight-game run from Nov. 26-Dec. 11.
The Blackhawks fell 3-2 to the Coyotes in the opener of an eight-game stay in the Windy City. Antoine Vermette scored in regulation for Arizona and also netted the deciding marker in the shootout to deliver the extra point for the visitors.
Marian Hossa scored both goals for Chicago, while captain Jonathan Toews recorded the lone assist on both of his markers. Antti Raanta stopped 27 shots through overtime, but absorbed the shootout loss after yielding two goals on three attempts in the tiebreaker.
Prior to the shootout, the Blackhawks thought they had won the game when a shot from Andrew Shaw appeared to cross the goal line before Coyotes netminder Mike Smith had a chance to sweep it away with his stick. However, a lengthy review determined the puck did not cross the goal line completely.
Chicago went 0-for-4 with the man advantage in the loss and only registered two shots on net over eight minutes of power-play time.
"I didn't like it," head coach Joel Quenneville said of the Blackhawks power- play unit. "You could talk about all of them. They started off poorly and ended poorly."
The Blackhawks fell to 16-7-2 as the host after the shootout loss. After tonight's test against the Canucks, Quenneville's club will play Friday against New Jersey.
Like Chicago, Vancouver also has been inconsistent of late, posting a 3-5-0 mark over the last eight games. The Canucks are still in a postseason spot, as they sit in the second of two wild card berths in the West. However, Minnesota has moved within two points of Vancouver for that spot, while Dallas and Los Angeles are only three points behind the Canucks.
The Canucks lost for the second time in three outings with Monday's 5-3 setback in Minnesota. Ryan Suter tallied a goal and an assist to help the Wild pick up their sixth straight victory and gain ground on Vancouver.
Zack Kassian and Shawn Matthias each scored for a second straight game and Ryan Stanton also lit the lamp for Vancouver, which failed to build off a 5-0 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"We came out hard, couldn't finish, took too many penalties and couldn't kill them," Canucks forward Henrik Sedin said. "We can't play this way."
Ryan Miller, who was coming off a perfect 31-save performance against the Penguins, allowed five goals on 18 shots through almost 28 minutes of action. Eddie Lack stopped all 14 shots fired his way in relief.
Vancouver fell to 15-9-2 away from Rogers Arena this season. The club has lost two straight on the road since winning three in a row as the guest from Jan. 15-19.
Canucks forward Nick Bonino left the game with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight.
Vancouver has fared well against the Blackhawks in recent years, winning three of the past five encounters and posting an 8-3-2 over the last 11 meetings. The Canucks also own a 3-0-2 mark over their last five tests in Chicago.