Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks take aim at a third straight victory on Thursday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks in a matchup of playoff contenders.
The Blackhawks capped their March with victories on back-to-back days, topping the hosting Winnipeg Jets 4-3 prior to a 4-1 win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
Scott Darling made 31 saves in the victory over the Kings, while Bryan Bickell, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa scored as Chicago wrapped the month of March with a 9-3-1 record.
"Excellent game from the outset, thought we had good jump," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Chicago sits third in the Central Division, one point behind the St. Louis Blues and three up on the fourth-place Minnesota Wild. All three clubs are in action tonight and have six games remaining on their schedule.
The Blackhawks will visit the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and expect to start Corey Crawford in net tonight. He is 5-3-3 in 11 lifetime meetings with the Canucks, posting a 2.43 goals against average and .920 save percentage.
Vancouver is inching closer to a playoff spot and sits second in the Pacific Division, which has already been clinched by the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks have a four-point lead over the third-place Calgary Flames, while the fourth- place Kings are seven points behind Vancouver.
The Canucks have won two straight and five of their past seven, picking up a 5-4 shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Nick Bonino, who had two assists in regulation, made a bunch of moves before sneaking in a forehand in the shootout and Eddie Lack stopped Filip Forsberg on Nashville's second chance. Radim Vrbata then sealed the win by lifting in a backhand.
Alexandre Burrows had a goal and an assist while Linden Vey, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen all scored for the Canucks. Lack finished with 34 saves.
"The guys battled the whole night, there were lots of really good things out of this game," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins.
Lack continues to fill in well for the injured Ryan Miller (sprained knee) and has won two previous career starts versus the Blackhawks while giving up six goal on 67 shots faced.
The Canucks shoot for a three-game season series sweep of the 'Hawks tonight and have taken nine of the past 14 encounters overall. That includes a 4-0-2 mark in their last six trips to Chicago.
Vancouver posted a 5-4 overtime win in the Windy City on Feb. 1, wasting a two-goal lead but getting the win on Daniel Sedin's second goal of the game that came 1:20 into overtime.
Lack made 37 saves, while Crawford stopped 31 shots as Chicago scored a pair of goals in the final 2:11 of regulation to force extra time.