Vancouver Canucks (29-20-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (33-18-3), 8 p.m. (ET)

( – 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

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.