Blackhawks look for 3rd straight win vs. Coyotes
The Chicago Blackhawks have won back-to-back games in dramatic fashion.
Now, they will try to make it three wins in a row when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday evening. Chicago will look to build upon a 4-3 overtime win at Boston, followed by a 2-1 shootout win at New Jersey.
Alex DeBrincat scored in both of those games and will try to keep his streak going against Arizona. DeBrincat went 12 games without a goal before rediscovering his scoring touch.
"The chances were there, it just wasn't going in for him," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters. "And he's the type of player that can go on a run, so it would be great for our team if he did. But the important thing that I want to see is, 'Can you continue to play well away from the puck and continue to generate chances?'"
Arizona has won two of its last three games, but it is coming off a deflating 2-0 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. It was the second time the Coyotes have been blanked this season.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet is embracing his team's winning record, but he wants to see more.
"This is the time where teams start to separate themselves, it gets harder around Christmas time, right?" Tocchet recently told reporters. "The gap has tightened now, you can't go through those long losing streaks. I always feel around this time of year is when you really need players to dig in, nose over the puck, winning the board battles. You really need your structure and the details of your game to help you win games."
The Coyotes' top scorer is Nick Schmaltz, who is familiar to Blackhawks fans after starting his career in Chicago as the team's 2014 first-round pick. He has 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) and a plus-3 rating in 31 games this season.
The Blackhawks dealt Schmaltz for Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome, who has played well since joining the team and reuniting with DeBrincat, his old junior league teammate. Strome has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and a plus-10 rating in 25 games on the season.
Chicago's top scorer is Patrick Kane, who has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 29 games.
Phoenix has relied on sound defense and good goaltending all season, and it will need both elements in order to slow down Kane and his teammates. The Coyotes likely will turn to veteran goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who is 12-6-2 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 20 games.
The Blackhawks could go back to goaltender Corey Crawford, who is 6-7-2 with a 2.89 GAA and a .912 save percentage on the season. The other option is Robin Lehner, who is 6-5-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
This is the first of three games between the Blackhawks and Coyotes this season. They will meet in Arizona on Thursday night and return to Arizona on Feb. 1.
Chicago is 7-7-2 at home this season. Arizona is 10-4-3 on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated December 7, 2019