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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, February 16th (All times eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (32-21-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (22-27-8), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to grab the top spot in the Northwest Division tonight, as they travel to Chicago and the United Center to battle the Blackhawks.

Vancouver and its 68 points are currently tied with Calgary for the division lead. The Flames were in action on Thursday, but were defeated by Colorado.

The Canucks, meanwhile, come into tonight's game on a winning note, as they knocked off the Minnesota Wild, 3-2, in overtime on Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Sami Salo scored the game-winner 4:20 into the extra session.

Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund also scored for Vancouver, which has won three of its last four games. Roberto Luongo blocked 30-of-32 shots in goal.

The win improved Vancouver's road mark to 14-12-2. The team will return home to host Colorado on Sunday before embarking on a four-game swing.

Center Jan Bulis, who has been out with a slightly separated shoulder, is probable for tonight's game.

Vancouver and Chicago will meet for the fourth and final time this season. The Canucks had won six straight in the series until the Blackhawks posted a 3-0 road win on February 7. The Canucks, though, have still won 11 of the last 13 meetings overall and three straight in Chicago.

The Blackhawks were last in action on Wednesday when they dropped a 5-4 shootout to Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena. Rookie Evgeni Malkin tied the game late in the third period and also netted the deciding shootout marker for the Penguins.

Craig MacDonald, Patrick Sharp, Martin St. Pierre and Tuomo Ruutu each scored and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 29 shots for Chicago, which wrapped a seven- game road trip at 4-2-1.

Martin Havlat posted an assist in the loss to stretch his scoring streak to seven games. He has posted seven goals and five helpers over that span.

Chicago, which is 11-13-3 at home this year, will keep its bags packed as it will hit the road for another two games after tonight's contest.

02/16 10:57:10 ET

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