Thomas Vanek Powers Canucks Past Blackhawks 5-2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Thomas Vanek had two goals and three assists, Brock Boeser added a goal and three assists, and the Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Sam Gagner had two goals and an assist for Vancouver (16-17-5), which returned from its Christmas break with just its second victory in the last 10 games. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves.
Chicago (17-14-5) has lost three in a row after winning five straight. Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman scored for the Blackhawks, and Anton Forsberg made 26 saves while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford.
The Canucks snapped a 1-1 tie with seven minutes left in the second period when Vanek, who was robbed twice by Forsberg in the first, finally broke through. Boeser played the puck behind the net to Gagner, and he set up Vanek's 11th goal with a no-look pass to the forward in front.
Gagner then gave Vancouver a two-goal cushion 1:27 into the third when he took a pass from Vanek and beat Forsberg for his sixth of the year. Forsberg got the start after the Blackhawks put Crawford on injured reserve Wednesday with an upper-body injury.
Gagner, who once had an eight-point game against Chicago when he played for Edmonton in 2012, has two goals and four assists during his four-game point streak after recording just a goal and an assist over his previous nine outings.
Vanek got his second of the night with 3:31 left when Boeser, who retook the NHL rookie scoring lead with his four points, fed a behind-the-back pass in front to set up his linemate's 12th of the season.
NOTES: Crawford also missed three games earlier this month with a lower-body injury. ... Chicago lost forward Artem Anisimov to an undisclosed injury in the first period.
Canucks: Host Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Blackhawks: Visit Edmonton on Friday night.