Maybe missing the Olympics was a good thing for Markus Naslund.
Naslund decided against making the trip overseas to represent Sweden, which won the gold medal at the 2006 Olympics. Naslund has scored a goal in both Canucks games since the break, as Vancouver has split the first two games on its three-game road trip.
He accounted for Vancouver’s only goal in a 3-1 loss Thursday at Nashville, and had a second goal disallowed due to goaltender interference. Naslund has now scored goals in back-to-back road games for the first time since doing so Nov. 14 and 25 at Minnesota.
Naslund has also played well against the Blackhawks this season, scoring goals in all three games to help the Canucks enter this game on the verge of a season sweep of Chicago.
The Canucks have dominated the Blackhawks recently, recording eight wins and an overtime loss in their last nine games against them. They have not lost in regulation to Chicago since a 3-2 defeat on Dec. 17, 2002.
Chicago is trying to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Nov. 13-19, and for just the third time this season. Craig Anderson made 20 saves in a 3-0 victory Wednesday over the Nashville Predators for his second career shutout.
“We played unbelievable,” said Anderson, whose other shutout came Jan. 22, 2004, at Columbus. “We kept them to like 20 shots and not a lot of second shots. Our defensemen and forwards came back and helped out a lot. It’s great to beat one of the top teams in the league. Everybody was on the same page.”
Anderson has an 0-3 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in three lifetime starts against the Canucks.
The Blackhawks have not won consecutive games at the United Center since a four-game home winning streak from Nov. 13-Dec. 16.