|CHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|PHX||2||1||0||(0 - 0)||3|
By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE - One week ago, the Coyotes were 13 points behind the Chicago Blackhawks and a lap behind all the playoff teams in the Western Conference.
How fast can things change in the NHL?
On a night when Jeremy Roenick became a member of their Ring of Honor, the Coyotes paid tribute to "JR" themselves with an effort to make old No. 97 proud – featuring goals, fights and plenty of crowd-pleasing plays to delight a full rink during a 3-0 win at Jobing.com Arena against the team that gave Roenick his start.
Energy player Kyle Chipchura started things with a long fight less than two minutes into Saturday's game and capped the scoring with a rare goal as the Coyotes ran their season-long winning streak to five games before a standing-room-only crowd of 17,353 who roared for Roenick and stayed for the real party.
But the real star for Phoenix – again – was goalie Mike Smith, who continued a week of stellar play with 38 saves and his third shutout of the season. Smith has allowed only six goals during the five-game win streak and just three in the last four – and he truly earned his 14th career shutout by frustrating Chicago's offensive stars again and again.
"When you're playing a team like Chicago, who can score so quick and turn a game around, you just focus on making the next save," Smith said.
Radim Vrbata and Boyd Gordon also scored, and Gilbert Brule had two assists for Phoenix (27-21-8), which has gone from 12th place in the Western Conference to eighth and sit just three points behind sixth-place Chicago (29-20-7). Phoenix's five-game winning streak is its longest since Mar. 10-18 of last year.
The Blackhawks, who lost in San Jose on Friday, are 0-7-1 in their last eight games -- their longest winless streak since the 2007-08 season. They haven't won since beating Florida 3-1 on Jan. 20, picking up just one point (at Vancouver on Jan. 31) since. On Jan. 21, the Hawks led the entire NHL with 64 points.
"As we've gone through this stretch here, we've had a lot of meetings and at the end of the day, sometimes we just want results," Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said. "The games we've lost lately were just really tough losses … critical times where we're not doing the right things. But tonight, we hurt ourselves right off the bat. I don't think we’ve had to deal with this before in this stretch where we haven't won."
Patrick Sharp had seven of Chicago's 38 shots but, like all his teammates, came up empty. Chicago was 0 for 3 on the power play and is 0 for 16 on the road trip.
Charged by the electric atmosphere following Roenick's speech and induction ceremony – and when Chipchura and Andrew Shaw swapped punches just 1:34 into play – the Coyotes had nine scoring chances in the first period and swarmed the Chicago net for the first six minutes.
At 3:14, Vrbata carried a puck around the Chicago net and banked a shot off Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto and into the open net for his 26th goal of the season, one behind Jonathan Toews for the most in the Western Conference this season.
Phoenix kept the pressure on Chicago goalie Ray Emery and quickly doubled the lead when Lauri Korpikoski found Brule at the left circle. Brule fanned on the shot but it trickled right to Gordon at the right post and Gordon stuffed in his seventh goal at 5:58.
|Photo by Getty Images.
"Everyone was so jacked up after seeing (Roenick) honored and then 'Chipper' starting the game off with a fight really got us going," Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said. "We're playing well, the house was packed and we kept winning. You remember nights like this."
The Blackhawks tried to rally, but Smith made a series of strong saves on Patrick Kane and Brendan Morrison to close the first period and was even better early in the second. He denied Marian Hossa and Toews on back-to-back tries and even stopped a Sharp blast from the slot with his mask a few minutes later.
"You're just glad it hit you somewhere," Smith said.
Phoenix's third line then seized control of the game. Raffi Torres took the puck away from Chicago's Dylan Olsen and fed Brule at the Chicago blue line. Brule found Chipchura chugging toward the crease and he dumped the puck over Emery's pads at 12:59 for his second goal of the season to give Phoenix a 3-0 lead.
"We have to put a string together, and we hadn’t had a sustained winning streak all year," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We were in and out a little bit so a sustained winning streak can get you right back to where you want to be. These fives games have obviously been a great boost to us. The bigger thing about the points is how we played, and when we got ahead tonight they pushed hard. Smitty had to be good... We’re playing better as a group. We’re doing things that make you win."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
|Photo by Norm Hall|
|Kyle Chipchura Fighting (maj) against Andrew Shaw|
|Andrew Shaw Fighting (maj) against Kyle Chipchura|
|Kyle Chipchura Tripping against Duncan Keith|
|Brendan Morrison Interference against Kyle Chipchura|
|Raffi Torres Hooking against Sami Lepisto|
|Radim Vrbata Tripping against Dylan Olsen|
|Adrian Aucoin Cross checking against Jonathan Toews|
|Jonathan Toews Slashing against Adrian Aucoin|
|SA: 27||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 24||EV: 23 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .889||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 38||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 38||EV: 34 - 34|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|