If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to successfully weather the latest Corey Crawford injury, they absolutely, positively need Anton Forsberg to be at the top of his game.
He certainly was for the first 30 minutes Thursday night in Vancouver, turning away at least five grade-A opportunities. But his teammates provided little offensive support and constantly lost track of players in front of the net in their own end during a 5-2 loss to the Canucks.
Scouting reportBlackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place, 8 p.m. Friday
TV: NBCSCH • Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: Edmonton (17-18-2) went into the break on a four-game winning streak but lost its last game 4-3 at Winnipeg. … Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins lead the Oilers with 14 goals each. Six others have between 7-9 goals. McDavid has at least 1 point in 27 of 37 games. … Defenseman Oscar Klefbom, who averages just under 23 minutes per game, missed the last four games with an upper-body injury. He practiced Thursday, though, and it appears he will play against the Hawks. … Edmonton's penalty kill ranked last (73.7 percent) going into Thursday's games. … The Hawks lost 2-1 in overtime to the Oilers in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 19, when Mark Letestu scored on the power play with 15.8 seconds remaining.
Next: Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, 8 p.m. Sunday
-- John Dietz
The Hawks have dropped three in a row and also lost Artem Anisimov to an injury midway through the first period.
"We'll know more tomorrow, but he might miss some time," coach Joel Quenneville told reporters.
Nick Schmaltz scored a power-play goal for the Hawks to tie the game at 1-1 at 11:22 of the first period, but it was all Vancouver in the last 27 minutes.
The Canucks scored 4 straight goals -- 2 by Thomas Vanek -- to win for just the second time in 10 games.
"Pucks (went) through us down low like Swiss cheese on three of them," Quenneville said. "Maybe you give them one of them, but that was too easy."
Ryan Hartman scored a meaningless goal for the Hawks with eight seconds left.
Forsberg finished with 26 saves but fell to 1-5-3 on the season. The Hawks have just 3 goals in the last three games.
Forsberg's best stop -- one that has to be considered for Save of the Week across the league -- came 3:03 into the first period. After Forsberg came to the top of the blue paint to challenge Ben Hutton, Hutton dished to Vanek, who unleased a one-timer toward a wide-open net from just 15 feet away.
Somehow, Forsberg put his stick in the perfect spot to deflect Vanek's blast.
"I thought Forsy had a great first period there," Patrick Kane told NBCSCH. "He made some great saves and kept us in it."
• Richard Panik, Vinnie Hinostroza and defenseman Michal Kempny were the Blackhawks' healthy scratches. David Kampf, who was called up from Rockford on Thursday, centered the third line with Patrick Sharp and Alex DeBrincat on the wings.