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Blackhawks host rising Canucks

Corey Crawford will start in net after Robin Lehner made back-to-back road starts.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks return home from a four-game road trip Thursday when they host the Canucks at the United Center.

Chicago was outscored 13-8 as they went 1-2-1 during the road trip, including a 3-0 loss at Nashville. The Blackhawks are coming off one of, if not the, worst performance of their season in a 4-2 loss Tuesday in San Jose. Chicago managed only eight shots on goal through two periods and had only three skaters with a positive Corsi-For differential with fourth-line forwards Drake Caggiula and Andrew Shaw and defenseman Duncan Keith, who scored his 99th career NHL goal.

The Blackhawks did not run line rushes during Thursday’s morning skate, but coach Jeremy Colliton said Zack Smith will draw back into the lineup for Dominik Kubalik. Smith last played 7:48 minutes on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Kings. It’ll be the first healthy scratch for Kubalik, who has three goals and six points in 14 games.

Corey Crawford, slated to start after Robin Lehner made back-to-back starts to close out the road trip. Crawford is 1-4-1 with a 3.74 goals-against average and .892 save percentage after a 40-save outing against the Kings that saw him miss 5:18 minutes while being examined for a possible concussion.

Thursday’s game will also mark defenseman Adam Boqvist’s first NHL regular season game at the United Center. The 19-year-old rookie has one power play goal and with a 49.30 CF% in three games while playing with Keith on the top line.

Crawford and the Blackhawks will have plenty of work against the Canucks, who are in the top 10 in the league in shooting percentage and goals per game. Vancouver also has the third-best penalty kill and has done a good job this season breaking up rushes in the neutral zone, which doesn’t bode well for a struggling Chicago offense.

The Canucks are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to St. Louis at home Tuesday. Rookie Quinn Hughes’ goal from the blue line with less than five minutes forced overtime. J.T. Miller and Tyler Myers collided and fell to the ice behind the Blues’ net leading to a 3-on-0 rush the other way that Jaden Schwartz finished off with a goal against Jacob Markstrom. A clearly frustrated Markstrom then smashed his goalie stick against the post.

Vancouver could turn to Markstrom again or Thatcher Demko, who ranks second in the league with a 1.78 GAA. Elias Pettersson (E-lee-us Peter-son) leads the Canucks with 14 assists and 20 points. Miller is the team’s goal scorer with 10.

Season series

The Blackhawks went 1-1-1 against the Canucks last season with Chicago’s lone win coming in a 4-3 overtime victory at the United Center. Jonathan Toews scored a goal in all three games last season, and Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome each had three assists. All three of Strome’s assists were in Chicago’s win, with two coming on goals by Alex DeBrincat and the other one on Toews’ game winner.

Josh Leivo (one goal, two assists) and Jake Virtanen (two goals, one assist) each had three points for the Canucks.

Tale of the tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Canucks

46.6% (28th) — Corsi For — 52.8% (4th)

48.7% (22nd) — Faceoffs — 51.5% (7th)

2.36 (29th) — Goals per game — 3.47 (6th)

3.07 (15th) — Goals against per game — 2.33 (28th)

11.9% (28th) — Power play — 21.9% (11th)

80.4% (t-19th) — Penalty kill — 88.7% (3rd)



Nylander — Toews — Saad

DeBrincat — Strome — Kane

Shaw — Kampf — Dach

Caggiula — Carpenter — Smith

Keith — Boqvist

De Haan — Seabrook

Maatta — Gustafsson




Miller — Pettersson — Boeser

Pearson — Horvat — Gaudette

Leivo — Sutter — Virtanen

Schaller — Beagle — Eriksson

Edler — Myers

Hughes — Tanev

Benn — Stecher



How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app