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Blackhawks vs. Canucks game preview 2016: Chicago looks to clinch playoff berth

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For the second straight season, Chicago can lock up a postseason spot against Vancouver.

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks need just one point to clinch their eighth consecutive trip to the playoffs when they visit the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday at Rogers Arena.

The Blackhawks (43-25-7) are 13 points ahead of ninth-place Colorado with seven games remaining. Chicago holds the tiebreaker against the Avalanche, so they only need one point to earn a playoff spot.

Chicago is also trying to avoid falling into a wild card spot. Nashville sits just two points behind in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Both teams won Saturday, but the Predators are idle Sunday so the Hawks can give themselves some breathing room.

Andrew Ladd scored twice and had an assist in Chicago's 4-1 win over Calgary to start their four-game road trip. He has eight points in 12 games since being acquired in a trade with Winnipeg near the trade deadline.

Andrew Shaw also scored a goal against the Flames. He is currently on a three-game goal streak.

Patrick Kane recorded an assist to improve his season point total to 93 points. He'll need to average a point per game to reach 100 points this season. Jeremy Roenick was the last Blackhawk to reach the milestone in 1993-94.

Chicago shut out the Canucks on Dec. 13 at the United Center with Corey Crawford in net. Crawford is not on the trip due to an upper-body injury. Scott Darling made 31 saves in the win over Calgary, and is 2-2-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average in his last five starts. He could get the call in net or the Hawks could turn to veteran Michael Leighton, who was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.

Projected lines:



Opponent Breakdown

Canucks | Record: 27-34-13 | 67 points | 6th in Pacific Division

The Canucks are on the cusp of losing their eighth consecutive game. They've been outscored 21-5 during their current skid and have been shutout in four of the last five.

Vancouver was shut out 4-0 by St. Louis, who clinched a playoff spot Friday.

Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with 27 goals, three shy of his season career-high of 30 in 2011-12. However, he has only scored once during the losing streak. He had a hat trick and an assist, while his twin brother, Henrik, had five points in 6-3 home win over Chicago on No. 21.

Ryan Miller will likely start in net.

Projected lines:

D. Sedin-H. Sedin-Hansen



Blackhawks: Corey Crawford

Canucks: Radim Vrbata, Christopher Tanev, Luca Sbisa, Markus Granlund, Brandon Sutter, Alexander Edler

How to watch

When: 7 p.m. CT

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver