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The Mats Sundin watch is over, but the Vancouver Canucks must wait a little longer for their newest acquisition to join the team.
On Saturday night, the Canucks go for their third consecutive win as they meet the streaking Chicago Blackhawks, who will try to post their seventh straight victory overall and a rare triumph at GM Place.
Vancouver landed the much-coveted Sundin on Thursday by agreeing to a one-year contract with the former Toronto captain. The nine-time All-Star is the Maple Leafs' all-time leading scorer with 987 points, and has tallied 555 goals and 766 assists over 17 NHL seasons with Quebec and Toronto.
Sundin opted to join the Canucks instead of the salary cap-strapped New York Rangers, and is scheduled to arrive in Vancouver on Dec. 27. He's not expected to play his first game with the Canucks (18-11-3) until early January, when he's projected to join a line with Pavol Demitra and former Leaf Kyle Wellwood.
"I know it's not a perfect situation as a player," Sundin, who turns 38 on Feb. 13, said Friday. "The players are in mid-season form and it's going to be challenging. The next few weeks I am going to push myself to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be in."
Captain and starting goaltender Roberto Luongo, out since Nov. 22 with a groin injury, is expected to miss his 12th straight game. Vancouver also will be without defenseman Sami Salo, who will miss the next four weeks after breaking a rib on Wednesday in a 4-2 win over Edmonton.
Salo, who has two goals and eight assists in 25 games, had returned to the lineup after missing three games with an injured groin.
Daniel Sedin had two goals and an assist in Wednesday's victory. He leads the Canucks with 14 goals and 32 points, while twin brother Henrik has a team-high 24 assists.
Daniel was kept off the scoresheet during the Canucks' 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Oct. 19 in Chicago, but Henrik scored one of his four goals in 2008-09.
Vancouver is 10-1-0 in its last 11 home games against the Blackhawks.
Chicago (17-6-7), which is wrapping up a three-game swing through western Canada, defeated Calgary 3-2 in overtime on Friday. The Blackhawks opened their trip with a 9-2 rout of Edmonton on Tuesday.
Duncan Keith scored 23 seconds into the extra session against the Flames as Chicago recorded its first six-game winning streak since the 2001-02 season - the last time it made the playoffs. Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks, who are fourth in the Western Conference and only five points behind Central Division-leading Detroit.
"We have a lot of confidence right now," Keith said. "We're a young bunch of guys and we're not thinking a whole lot, we're just having fun playing the game, hanging out with each other, and putting wins together."
The Blackhawks haven't won seven in a row since an eight-game run from Jan. 4-21, 1981. Chicago has had seven six-game winning streaks since then.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 32 saves on Friday to improve to 10-1-4 this season. If he starts against the Canucks, Khabibulin will be looking for his first win against them in nearly 11 years. Since a 4-2 victory on Jan. 26, 1998 while with Phoenix, Khabibulin has gone 0-7-1 with one tie and a 3.16 GAA in nine starts versus Vancouver.
Cristobal Huet, who's allowed two goals in winning his last three starts for Chicago, is 1-4-2 with a 3.25 GAA on the road this season. He's had a loss and a tie in his career in Vancouver.