By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez
The Coyotes will look to extend their winning streak to six games today when they begin a six-game homestand against the Chicago Blackhawks. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (39-23-11), which has gone 6-0-1 in its past seven games, will enter the game in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, just three points behind the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks and three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who sit in fifth place in the conference.
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Tonight’s game is the fourth and final meeting between the Coyotes and Blackhawks this season. The Coyotes have earned five out of a possible six points against the Blackhawks so far this season and lost in a shootout, 4-3, in their last meeting back on Feb. 27 at the United Center in Chicago.
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov
will start for the Coyotes after backup Jason LaBarbera
started and won Friday’s game in Vancouver. Bryzgalov, who stopped 38 of the 41 Chicago shots he faced on Feb. 27, has posted a record of 4-0-0 with one shutout and a 1.50 goals-against average in his last four starts.
Three Coyotes to keep an eye on are Shane Doan
, Radim Vrbata
and Lee Stempniak
. Doan has notched eight points (three goals and five assists) in his last five games; Vrbata recorded six points (two goals and four assists) on the recent four-game trip; and Stempniak has scored a goal in three consecutive games.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Chicago (38-25-8), which is coming off a 5-0 loss at Dallas on Thursday, currently sits in seventh place in the Western Conference standings, just one point ahead of ninth-place Anaheim.
The Blackhawks are 1-2-2 since winning eight games in a row, and have lost four consecutive road games.
Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal for Chicago. Crawford is 7-14-5 in 46 appearances this season with a 2.36 goals-against-average, a .915 save percentage and three shutouts.
The defending Stanley Cup champs again have a potent offense that is led by Jonathan Toews (71 points), Patrick Sharp (68 points) and Patrick Kane (62 points). As a team, Chicago averages 3.2 goals-per-game, which ranks third in the NHL. Chicago has also enjoyed success on the power play this season, converting on 23.5 percent of their opportunities, which ranks second in the league.
The last seven meetings between the two teams have been decided by one or two goals, which includes two shootouts this season.