Blackhawks look to start win streak against Coyotes
CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks will try to win their second game in a row when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night at the United Center.
Chicago (13-11-5) is coming off a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday that snapped a five-game winless streak. The Blackhawks evened the score in the final four minutes and won with 4.9 seconds remaining in overtime.
It was the type of victory that Blackhawks players hope will launch a winning streak.
“We’re a confident group in here,” Chicago right winger Tommy Wingels said. “There’s no doubt about that. This team knows how to win. This team expects to win. Are we completely satisfied? No. We can be better in a lot of areas.”
The same can be said for Arizona (7-20-5), which enters the game with the fewest points in the Western Conference. The Coyotes have one win in their past seven games and will play on short rest after a 1-0 loss on the road to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Arizona goaltender Antti Raanta drew a hard-luck loss in his first game back since recovering from a lower-body injury. Raanta is available to play against the Blackhawks, but it is uncertain whether he will start back-to-back nights. If he rests, look for goaltender Scott Wedgewood to make his ninth start in the past 10 games.
No matter which goaltender plays, the Coyotes need to produce more on offense.
“We’re going to have to find ways to get more pucks to the net next time, and get to the net with bodies,” Coyotes forward Max Domi told reporters after Saturday’s shutout loss.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to make his second consecutive start since being activated from injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.
Crawford has a 12-7-2 record with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 22 games (21 starts) this season. In 15 career games against Arizona, he is 10-2-2 with a 2.83 GAA and an .896 save percentage.
Wedgewood is 3-5-3 with a 2.97 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 12 games (10 starts) this season. He never has faced the Blackhawks in his career.
If Raanta starts, he will know the building and the opponent well. He spent his first two seasons with the Blackhawks but fell behind former teammate Scott Darling on the depth chart and was traded to the New York Rangers.
Raanta is 4-6-2 with a 2.68 GAA and .919 save percentage in 14 starts this season. He has started against the Blackhawks twice, posting a 1-1-0 record with a 1.00 GAA and .962 save percentage.
Chicago is led in scoring by Patrick Kane, who has 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 29 games. Rookie Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov are tied for the team lead with 12 goals apiece.
Arizona’s leading scorer is Clayton Keller, who has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 32 games. Center Derek Stepan (five goals, 13 assists) and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (six goals, 12 assists) are next with 18 points apiece.
Chicago is 7-5-2 on home ice. Arizona is 4-12-4 on the road.