NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 12th (All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (28-22-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-19-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to keep it a tight race in the Pacific Division when they go for a fourth straight victory in tonight's meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes enter this contest fourth in the division, but just three points back of the first-place Stars and one behind the Sharks and Ducks in the standings as well. Phoenix contributed to this logjam on Wednesday with a 3-2 overtime victory against Dallas.
With the Stars' Jamie Langenbrunner in the box for a tripping call that came with 19 seconds left in regulation, Radim Vrbata took a pass from Keith Yandle and maneuvered past a diving defender before putting a wrister into the back of the net 1:13 into overtime.
Michal Rozsival and Mikkel Boedker also scored for the Coyotes, who have won three straight since a 2-6-0 stretch and picked up the franchise's 500th regular-season victory since relocating from Winnipeg in 1996.
Ilya Bryzgalov posted 16 saves in the win that came without defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who missed his fourth game in a row due to an upper-body injury.
"We had too many turnovers tonight," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "As the game went on we got better, started playing faster and were able to get the win."
The Coyotes return home to begin a three-game homestand and have taken two straight at Jobing.com Arena since losing five in a row as the host.
The Blackhawks close out a six-game road trip this evening and fell to 2-2-1 on the trek with last night's 4-3 shootout setback to the Stars. Former Dallas goaltender Marty Turco made 32 saves in the loss for Chicago, but was bested by all three Stars skaters in the tiebreaker.
"It's a little tougher to swallow this time, but I felt pretty good," Turco said. "But not to get two points and the win is disappointing."
Chicago jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period when Patrick Kane scored unassisted and then helped set up goals by Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook, but ended up with its fifth loss in seven games and is three points out of a playoff spot.
Already without Marian Hossa due to the flu, Viktor Stalberg (shoulder), Fernando Pisani (head) and Ryan Johnson (undisclosed) all left Friday's game with injuries.
The Coyotes have taken four of their past five meetings with the Blackhawks, including a 2-1 win at Chicago on Nov. 10 in the first meeting between these two clubs this season.
Phoenix has won two straight at home over Chicago and Bryzgalov is 6-5-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average lifetime versus the 'Hawks.
Corey Crawford is expected to get the start in net for the Blackhawks and he has never before faced the Coyotes.
02/12 10:50:14 ET