By Dave Vest The Coyotes will play the final game of a five-game trip against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the United Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Photo by Getty Images.
Phoenix (33-21-9) will enter the game in second place in the Pacific Division standings, three points behind first-place San Jose, which is idle.
The Coyotes will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak during which they've been outscored 13-6. Phoenix has not lost three straight games in regulation on the road since Jan. 18 – Feb. 3, 2009 (88 road games).
Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes after giving up five goals vs. Columbus in a 5-3 los on Friday night. It was his first defeat since Feb. 2.
The Coyotes on Saturday reassigned defenseman Nolan Yonkman and forward Brett MacLean to the American Hockey League. That's a good sign regarding the status of injured veterans Ray Whitney and Adrian Aucoin, both of whom have been sidelined with lower-body injuries.
Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker is riding a career-high three-game assist streak (0-4-4). Moreover, Boedker has assisted on Phoenix's first goal in each of the past three games.
Chicago (32-23-6) has won three straight games to pull within one point of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.
Goalie Corey Crawford is leading the charge with 5-1-1 record with a 1.82 goals-against average in his last seven starts.
Though they've struggled recently - going 1 for 8 in their past four games - the Blackhawks still rank second in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 24.3 percent. Patrick Sharp (12), Jonathan Toews (eight), Troy Brouwer (seven) and Patrick Kane (five) have combined to score 32 power-play goals this season.
Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville, a good friend of Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, was back on the bench Thursday after missing four games because of a bleeding ulcer.
Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko has notched two goals and an assist in the two games he has played since coming off the injured reserve list.
Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp has notched at least one point in four consecutive games and ranks tied for third in the NHL with 32 goals.
The Coyotes are 5-1-0 against Chicago since the start of last season after being outscored 23-5 while losing the previous six meetings.
Coyotes winger Scottie Upshall, who is tied for the team lead with 16 goals, will return to the lineup tonight after serving a two-game suspension.
This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus. Click here for more information. This game can be heard on KFNN 1510 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 5 p.m.
Click below to listen to Coyotes winger Scottie Upshall talk about tonight's game and more.