National Hockey League
Coyotes-Blackhawks Preview
National Hockey League

Coyotes-Blackhawks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 11:24 p.m. ET

The Chicago Blackhawks' offense is once again clicking after a lengthy cold stretch.

They've had no trouble lighting the lamp against the Arizona Coyotes this season.

Coming off their highest-scoring game in seven weeks, the Blackhawks look to complete a season sweep of the Coyotes with a fifth win in six games Tuesday night.

Trailing Dallas and St. Louis by six points for first place in the Central Division with three games to play, Chicago (46-26-7) is a longshot to secure home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series. That probably matters little to the Blackhawks, who also opened last season's playoffs on the road en route to winning the Stanley Cup.


A more pressing issue for the Blackhawks was breaking out of a troubling slump, and they've accomplished that.

They've tallied 11 goals in their last two games and are averaging 3.8 in their last five after totaling 14 goals in their previous seven.

"We have to try to finish the season really strong and get used to each other," Tomas Fleischman said after Sunday's 6-4 win over Boston, "and right now we are doing that."

Patrick Kane had three goals to give him 43 on the season and added an assist to give him 100 points.

Linemates Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov also contributed, with Panarin tallying a goal and three assists and Anisimov adding a goal and two assists.

Each member of the line scored a goal in Chicago's 7-5 win over Arizona (35-37-7) on Dec. 29, while Kane scored again and Panarin had three assists in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Coyotes on Feb. 4.

Jonathan Toews has three goals in the season series for the Blackhawks, who are 8-1-2 against the Coyotes since January 2013, but have dropped four of six matchups (2-1-3) at the United Center.

Marian Hossa has a goal and two assists in the season series but is unlikely to play after leaving with a lower-body injury Sunday. Coach Joel Quenneville expects the veteran will be healthy for the playoffs, and is targeting Corey Crawford to return for Saturday's season finale at Columbus.

Scott Darling is likely to make a 10th straight start and face the Coyotes for the first time.

An improved special teams is making things easier for Darling and has also keyed Chicago's turnaround.

The Blackhawks have converted 3 of 6 power plays in the last two games following an 0-for-26 stretch and have also snuffed out all 11 penalties in the last five after compiling an NHL-worst 67.9 penalty kill percentage over an 18-game span from Feb. 9-March 22.

The Coyotes are enduring their share of struggles when down a man, allowing opponents to go 10 for 31 on the power play in the last eight games.

Arizona built a 2-0 lead over the Blues after one period Monday before falling apart in a 5-2 loss to drop to 2-12-1 on the road since Jan. 26. St. Louis' comeback began with a power-play goal midway through the second period.

''We were flat after the first,'' Anthony Duclair said. ''I don't know if we thought it was going to be easier, but we definitely got away from the things we were doing right.''

Duclair scored his 20th goal to rank fifth among all rookies. Panarin leads all first-year players with 28 goals and 72 points and has three scores and five assists in the last two games.

Louis Domingue could get the call in net after Mike Smith made his third consecutive start Monday.

Against the Blackhawks this season, Domingue made one start and relived Anders Lindback in the other, compiling a 4.63 goals-against average and .871 save percentage.


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