Chicago suspended Crawford on Dec. 2 after several former players came forward with examples of his abusive conduct during prior coaching jobs. The Blackhawks said they consulted with his “former players, colleagues and executive management” and independent legal counsel throughout their investigation. Crawford thanked players for their courage to come forward, apologized for his behavior in a statement and detailed he has improved himself.
The Blackhawks went 8-4-1 during Crawford’s absence, and enter the new year having won five of their past six, including four straight on the road. However, they’ve lost three straight in Vancouver, dating back to Dec. 28, 2017.
Chicago is coming off a 5-3 win Tuesday in Calgary, where Patrick Kane collected two goals and two assists, and Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome each had a goal and an assist. Robin Lehner made 41 saves for his sixth consecutive win.
Lehner will make his fourth straight start. He has shut out the Canucks in his past two starts against Vancouver, and holds a .946 save percentage against them.
The Canucks have won a season-best five straight after losing three straight. Tyler Myers and Tanner Pearson each scored twice and added an assist in Vancouver’s latest win, a 5-2 victory against the Flames on Sunday in Calgary. Jake Virtanen had a goal and an assist, and Bo Horvat had two assists for the Canucks, who have outscored their opponents 21-11 during their winning streak.
Thatcher Demko made 23 saves in his first start since Dec. 7 because of a concussion. Jacob Markstrom played nine straight games in net prior to Demko’s start. Markstrom is 13-11-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .919 save percentage with one shutout this season.
Elias Pettersson leads Vancouver with 18 goals and 41 points, and Brock Boeser has six points (one goal, five assists) during a five-game point streak and 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games.
The Blackhawks won the first game of the season series 5-2 on Nov. 17, 2019, in Chicago. Kane scored three points (one goal, two assists), Strome had three points and Corey Crawford made 36 saves.
Tale of the Tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Canucks
47.9% (25th) — Corsi For — 49.3% (19th)
47.2% (24th) — Expected goals for — 50.6% (16th)
2.83 (21st) — Goals per game — 3.23 (12th)
3.12 (14th) — Goals against per game — 2.95 (20th)
15.4% (26th) — Power play — 26.4% (4th)
82.2% (8th) — Penalty kill — 80.9% (16th)
Kubalik — Toews — Quenneville
Sikura — Carpenter — Kane
DeBrincat — Dach — Strome
Smith — Kampf — Highmore
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Gilbert
Miller — Pettersson — Boeser
Pearson — Horvat — Eriksson
Roussel — Gaudette — Virtanen
Schaller — Beagle — Motte
Edler — Stecher
Hughes — Tanev
Fantenberg — Myers
How to watch
When: 9 p.m.
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver
TV: NBC Sports Chicago+
Live stream: ESPN+, NBC Sports app, NHL.TV