NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 3rd (All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (19-16-3) at Phoenix Coyotes (19-18-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to rebound from a lopsided loss tonight, when they head to Phoenix and Jobing.com Arena to battle the Coyotes.
Chicago allowed a season-high nine goals in a setback to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Ladislav Nagy posted a hat trick to help lead the Kings to a 9-2 victory.
Martin Lapointe lit the lamp while Patrick Sharp added his team-leading 20th goal of the season for the Blackhawks, who have dropped their last two games after a four-game winning streak.
Nikolai Khabibulin started in net, but was pulled after giving up four goals on nine shots. Patrick Lalime made 12 saves in relief. Rookie Patrick Kane had an assist in his fourth straight game to up his team-leading total in assists to 28. He also has a team-best 37 points.
However, fellow rookie Jonathan Toews injured his left knee and returned to Chicago to undergo an MRI. Chicago's third-overall pick in the 2006 draft has posted 15 goals and 32 points in 36 games and also suffered a broken right index finger this year.
The Blackhawks' loss on Tuesday came in the opener of a three-game road trip and dropped the club to 7-7-2 as the visiting squad. Chicago wraps its trek on Friday in Anaheim.
Phoenix has a little bit of momentum on its side after sweeping a home-and- home set against the Colorado Avalanche. The clubs wrapped that series in Denver on Wednesday, and Steven Reinprecht notched his fourth career hat trick to help guide the Coyotes to a 5-2 victory.
Reinprecht also had an assist for a four-point night, and scored his 100th career goal. Shane Doan lit the lamp and Ilja Bryzgalov made 24 saves for the Coyotes, who have won two in a row following a three-game slide.
Former Blackhawk Radim Vrbata had a goal in his third straight game and also had an assist to give him four goals and two helpers over his last three contests.
The Coyotes play the first of back-to-back home games tonight and have lost four of their last five as the host (1-3-1). Phoenix is just 6-10-1 at home this season.
Chicago defeated Phoenix, 6-1, on November 30 for its second straight win over the Coyotes after losing five straight.
01/03 10:47:38 ET