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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 19th (All times eastern)

Chicago Blackhawks (22-21-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (24-21-1), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes resume a five-game homestand tonight, as the Chicago Blackhawks pay a visit to Jobing.com Arena.

Phoenix won the opener of the stand against San Jose, but then lost a 4-3 decision to Columbus on Thursday. Rick Nash scored two goals, including a highlight reel game-winner in the dying moments of the third, to lift the Blue Jackets.

Shane Doan, Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal each posted a goal and an assist for Phoenix, which has lost two of three. Mikael Tellqvist allowed four goals on 32 shots in defeat.

Doan has five goals and five assists over his last seven games, while Mueller has two goals and six assists during a five-game point streak.

Radim Vrbata (groin) and Steven Reinprecht (neck spasms) both missed the setback. Vrbata, who is Phoenix's leading goal scorer with 18 tallies, is doubtful for tonight, while Reinprecht and his 12 goals and 15 assists are probable.

Phoenix is just 9-11-1 as the home team this year and had a season-high four- game home win streak halted with Thursday's loss. The Coyotes also host Buffalo and Nashville on this stand.

Chicago has now followed an eight-game losing streak with three straight wins, including Friday's 2-1 shootout victory over Colorado. Robert Lang scored in the fourth round of the extra session to lift the Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane scored in the first round for Chicago, getting Colorado netminder Jose Theodore to commit to the backhand before finding the back of the net with a forehand shot. Milan Hejduk then squeaked a shot through Patrick Lalime's pads in the third round, sending the shootout to an extra frame.

Lalime stopped T.J. Hensick's shot with a poke check and Lang then delivered, threading a wrister just above Theodore's stick.

Kane also scored the only regulation goal for the Blackhawks. Lalime turned aside 22 shots in the win.

Lalime, backup to netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, has been in net for each of Chicago's last three wins and is now 7-5-1 on the season with a 2.56 goals- against average through 15 games.

Khabibulin, meanwhile, is 0-6-1 in his last seven outings.

Earlier on Friday, forward Jason Williams underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. He is expected to miss about six more weeks and hasn't played since November 28. Williams has seven goals and 12 assists on the season.

Chicago won the opener of its three-game road trip and is 9-9-3 away from the Windy City this year. The Blackhawks wrap the swing on Tuesday in San Jose.

The Blackhawks and Coyotes have split two games this year, with each team posting a victory at home so far. Phoenix has won six of its last eight versus Chicago, and three of the last four as the host.

01/19 10:40:46 ET


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