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Blackhawks-Coyotes Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Blackhawks-Coyotes Preview
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will put their season-high four-game winning streak on the line tonight when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at Arena. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (26-21-8) will enter the game 4-0-0 in the month of February and looking to keep climbing the Western Conference standings.

Tonight’s game is the fourth of four between the teams this season. The Coyotes have won two of three, but the Blackhawks won the only game played in Glendale, 5-2, on Oct. 18.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is expected to stick with the same lineup tonight as the team pursues its fifth straight win. That means goaltender Mike Smith, who owns a 3-1-0 record and a 1.68 goals-against average vs. Chicago, will start for the Coyotes. Smith has posted a .951 save percentage during the team’s winning streak.

Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata, who leads the team with 25 goals, has scored two game-winning goals in the last six games and is tied for second in the NHL in that category.

The Blackhawks (29-19-7) will enter the game less than 24 hours after playing at San Jose and losing, 5-3, to the Sharks on Friday night. The loss dropped Chicago’s record to 0-6-1 over its last seven games - with all but one of those games played on the road.

"We just need to get out of this, and we just have to battle through it," Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa told reporters. "The way this thing is happening isn't any fun right now. If we get an ugly win, we'll be able to get out of it."

Photo by Getty Images.
Tippett, who is good friends with Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville, is expecting a tough game from Chicago despite its recent struggles.

"There's two slides to a slump, “ Tippett said. “There's one that they're not playing well, but you know a group like that, with as much character as they have, they're trying to get out of it in a hurry. So they'll be a very dangerous team."

Before the game, the Coyotes will honor former alternate captain Jeremy Roenick by inducting him into the team’s Ring of Honor.

“I don't think it has hit me yet that they're doing this for me,” Roenick told “The ultimate goal is the Hall of Fame, and I think the second best honor you can be given is for what you have done for a team. It's great that the Coyotes are doing this for me.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to watch former Coyotes alternate captain Jeremy Roenick discuss his upcoming induction into the team's Ring of Honor.

Who's Hot
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney has notched two goals and nine assists in a seven-game point streak. He also has a team-best five points against Chicago this season (two goals, three assists).
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has notched 14 points in his last 12 games, and ranks fifth in the NHL with 27 goals.
Did You Know?
  • Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin played two seasons for Chicago (2005-06 and 2006-07) and served as team captain during that time.

  • The Coyotes have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games played at Arena.

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 6:30 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 11 '12 CHI 0 at PHX 3 R. Vrbata
Dec 05 '11 PHX 4 at CHI 3 - SO O. Ekman-Larsson
Nov 29 '11 PHX 4 at CHI 1 S. Doan
Oct 18 '11 CHI 5 at PHX 2 J. Mayers
M. Hossa55203353+181672
J. Toews55272552+152454
P. Sharp48222446+173445
P. Kane56123345+93022
V. Stalberg53151631+32205
D. Keith5332629+62211
D. Bolland52161228-73361
N. Leddy5622426-101000
B. Seabrook5251722+111412
A. Brunette5591019-13440
M. Kruger4651015-41600
S. Montador515914+44521
M. Frolik515813-92200
N. Hjalmarsson5411112+51000
J. Mayers565611+06501
B. Morrison334711-2800
D. Carcillo282911+108200
B. Bickell455510-74400
A. Shaw17538-41601
J. Hayes13437-1610
S. O'Donnell39077-51300
B. Smith13202-5000
B. Pirri5022+2000
J. Scott22011+02800
S. Lepisto13011+4400
R. Olesz6000-1600
D. Olsen4000-3000
J. Morin3000-1000
B. Saad2000+0000
C. Crawford3918-14-511110902.99.898
R. Emery2211-6-2555532.81.901
R. Whitney56163551+192450
R. Vrbata56262147+151848
S. Doan56161834-83045
K. Yandle5672330+03402
L. Korpikoski56131427+81203
M. Hanzal4281624+93432
O. Ekman-Larsson5671421-11811
D. Langkow4771421-61411
B. Gordon4971320+121001
R. Torres539716+13700
M. Boedker567916-21001
K. Chipchura4421315+63800
T. Pyatt567714-41400
R. Klesla492911+92300
D. Schlemko4111011+71000
D. Morris48189-102600
G. Brule13347+4210
M. Rozsival28077+51000
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
D. Rundblad26156-10600
A. Aucoin46235+112810
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
C. Summers10033+0000
M. Pouliot9022-3200
P. Bissonnette16101-11601
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
M. Smith4423-14-79913272.33.925
J. LaBarbera153-7-1353862.73.909
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