The Vancouver Canucks know little about slumping this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks? Not so much.
On Tuesday, the Blackhawks aim to snap their latest — and longest — skid this season at the expense of the Western Conference-leading Canucks, who are hoping to finish a five-game road trip with a winning record.
Vancouver has lost consecutive games on only three occasions this season. That’s a marked contrast to the Blackhawks, whose current six-game losing streak is their fifth losing streak of at least four games.
The Canucks escaped the possibility of a third straight defeat when J.T. Miller scored with 4.8 seconds left in overtime to secure a win at Washington on Sunday.
“It was a mucky game,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “You’re going to have these games in an 82-game schedule. I thought some guys were tired, which means you need to play smart, and we turned the puck over a few times halfway through the game.
“I thought we were better as the game went on, but some games you have to play when you don’t have your legs and you’ve got to play smart.”
Vancouver enjoyed a day of rest on Monday. The Canucks lost 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime on Saturday afternoon before playing another matinee against the Capitals.
The busy weekend followed Vancouver’s most lopsided defeat of the season, Thursday’s 4-0 beating in Boston.
“Things have gone so well this year that when you lose one, it feels like the end of the world,” Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers said. “But guys are doing a good job of sticking with it.”
Tuesday marks the third game of a five-game homestand for the Blackhawks, who have lost three straight contests by one goal.
Chicago has been idle since Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. Nick Foligno and Jason Dickinson scored in the final 6:23 of regulation as the Blackhawks tied the game, but Mika Zibanejad rescued the Rangers 2:37 into the extra session, beating Chicago goaltender Petr Mrazek.
Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson lauded the team’s effort and persistence as several key contributors remain out due to injury. Chicago has scored more than two goals just four times in the past 18 games.
“I think the guys, it’s just their work ethic,” Richardson said. “We’ve been kind of on this for maybe over a month now that I’ve been very happy with the work ethic. We haven’t gotten the results most nights, but we’re inching closer every time.”
The Blackhawks will aim to salvage a victory in the season series with the Canucks.
Vancouver defeated host Chicago 4-3 on Dec. 17. Brock Boeser’s second-period goal, one of three markers from Vancouver in the period, stood up as the game-winner and helped the Canucks offset two goals by Foligno.
Miller and Myers each contributed two assists for the Canucks, who blanked the visiting Blackhawks 2-0 on Jan. 22 behind a 31-save shutout from Thatcher Demko. Andrei Kuzmenko assisted on both Vancouver goals.
–Field Level Media
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