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Canucks-Blackhawks Preview

Vancouver (32-21-4) has posted back-to-back 3-2 victories - over Atlanta and Minnesota - since a 3-0 home loss to Chicago on Feb. 7. That defeat is the only time in the Canucks' last 13 games - a stretch during which they are 8-2-3 - when they have lost by more than one goal.

It also was the Blackhawks' first win in regulation over Vancouver in 13 meetings since Dec. 17, 2002. Chicago (22-27-8) had lost the previous five matchups.

The Canucks, though, have won their last three games at the United Center and have a 15-3-3 record since Christmas. They won 5-0 at Chicago on Oct. 25 in their most recent visit as Henrik and Daniel Sedin each had three points.

Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund each has 13 points in the last 13 matchups with the Blackhawks, while Henrik Sedin has 11 points in his last 12 games against them.

Naslund and Daniel Sedin both scored on Wednesday at Minnesota before Vancouver won on Sami Salo's goal with 40 seconds left in overtime.

``It's huge to win here,'' said Salo, whose team was 0-3 in Minnesota entering the game. ``Especially this year, we've struggled in this building.''

The goal was Salo's third in overtime this season and 10th overall, tying his career high from 2005-06. The defenseman has seven points in 11 games against Chicago.

The Blackhawks (22-27-8) closed a season-high seven-game road trip with a 4-2-1 mark after losing 5-4 in a shootout to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Nikolai Khabibulin gave up the tying goal with 5:39 left in regulation to Evgeni Malkin, who scored the clincher in the shootout.

``I felt like we earned a point the way we played, but then we gave one away,'' said Khabibulin, who had 29 saves.

Khabibulin has lost five straight starts versus the Canucks and hasn't won in seven games against them since Jan. 26, 1998, while with Phoenix.

Chicago has earned at least a point in four of its last five games, but the team is still 15 points back of eighth-place Minnesota for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Blackhawks are playing at the United Center for the first time since Jan. 28, when they ended an eight-game home losing streak with a 4-3 overtime win over Calgary.

Martin Havlat, who had an assist on Wednesday, was stellar during the Blackhawks' road trip with at least a point in each game for a season-high seven-game streak. The right wing totaled seven goals and 12 points during the swing to give him a team-leading 22 goals and 45 points in 35 games this season.

Vancouver expects to have Jan Bulis back in the lineup after the center missed consecutive games with a separated shoulder suffered in the last contest with Chicago. Bulis has only 17 points this season after totaling 40 in 2005-06 with Montreal.


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