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Garland, Joshua and Hoglander lead soaring Canucks past sliding Blackhawks 4-2.

Tue, Feb 13, 2024
NHL News (AP)

Garland, Joshua and Hoglander lead soaring Canucks past sliding Blackhawks 4-2.

CHICAGO (AP) - Conor Garland scored twice, Dakota Joshua added a goal and and two assists and the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks beat the depleted Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Nils Hoglander scored for the third straight game as the Canucks improved to 36-12-6 and 78 points. Vancouver hasn't led the league this late in a season since 2012, when it went on to win the second of consecutive Presidents' Trophies.

Vancouver outshot league-worst Chicago 38-23, controlling the puck for extended runs in dealing the Blackhawks their seventh straight loss. Tyler Johnson and rookie defenseman Kevin Korchinski scored for Chicago.

Vancouver's Thatcher Demko made 21 saves. Chicago's Petr Mrazek blocked 34 shots.

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The Canucks wrapped up a five-game trip at 3-1-1 and swept its season series with Chicago, 3-0.

The Blackhawks, at 14-36-3 and 31 points, have scored just 15 goals in their last 13 games, all without rookie Connor Bedard.

On Monday, Chicago coach Luke Richardson said Bedard, out since Jan. 5 with a broken jaw, could be cleared for contact drills as early as next week then progress quickly to games. Wearing a green no-contact jersey and a full face shield, Bedard participated in skating, passing and shooting drills at full speed in the team's Tuesday morning skate.

Although he's played in just 39 games, the 18-year-old center entered Tuesday as the NHL's leading rookie goal scorer with 15 and was tied with Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber for the lead in points with 33.

The Canucks took a 1-0 lead on Garland's 10th goal at 10:05. Garland fired into an open net to cap a give-and-go with Joshua.

Vancouver outshot Chicago 12-1 in the opening period and held Chicago without a shot until Seth Jones fired on Demko during a power play with 30 seconds left, prompting a derisive cheer from the crowd.

Garland got credit for his 11th goal and third in two games at 8:18 of the second to make it 2-0. Filip Hronek's shot from the right point struck Garland's skate has he danced through the slot and the puck trickled past Mrazek.

Johnson scored his first goal since returning from a foot injury with 3:17 left in the second to cut it to 2-1. Set up by Philipp Kurashev, Johnson's shot from the slot deflected in off Demko's stick.

Hoglander made it 3-1 just under two minutes later. Joshua scored at 6:07 of the third off a feed from Teddy Blueger for a 4-1 lead.

Korchinski swept to the net to score his third goal off Ryan Donato's cross feed with 6:33 remaining.

Chicago played without defensemen Connor Murphy and Jarred Tinordi, both on injured reserve with groin injuries. The Blackhawks also are without defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (knee) and forwards Andreas Athanasiou (groin), Anthony Beauvillier (broken left wrist) and Taylor Hall (right ACL surgery)

UP NEXT

Canucks: Host Detroit on Thursday.

Blackhawks: Host Pittsburgh on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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