The Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes close out their season series Thursday at United Center. The Blackhawks hold a 2-0 series lead heading into tonight’s matchup, though the Coyotes gave Chicago a run for their money back on Feb. 2 when the Blackhawks narrowly escaped with a 4-3 victory. Still, the Blackhawks have outscored the Coyotes 8-3 in their matchups this season and they’ll look to finish strong against a rebuilding Coyotes franchise.
The Coyotes will look to win their second consecutive game for just the second time this month after a win against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. Despite being inconsistent, the Coyotes have given some good teams a competitive matchup this season. The Blackhawks will need to play smart and not take anything for granted if they wanted to beat the young Coyotes team that has nothing to lose, but an opportunity to gain experience against one of the league’s best in Chicago.
The Blackhawks are looking to close out the season strong in search of the first seed in the Pacific division. After a win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Chicago has shown that they’re still legitimate contenders for that first seed – something that the Wild will surely look to hold off with wins of their own. There’s still a lot of hockey left to be played in the regular season, but for the Blackhawks, every point counts.
Arizona Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center – 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 23
Broadcast channels –NBCSN, CSN-CH
2016-17 Season Series:
Dec. 6 – Coyotes 0 – Blackhawks 4
Feb. 2 – Blackhawks 4 – Coyotes 3
Arizona Coyotes – 21-30-7 – 49 points
Away Record: 8-16-4
Hot Players: Christian Dvorak, Martin Hanzal
Key Injuries: Dave Bolland, Brad Richardson, Lawson Crouse, Louis Domingue
Max Domi-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Jamie McGinn-Alexander Burmistrov-Josh Jooris
Tobias Rieder-Jordan Martinook-Ryan White
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Connor Murphy
Jakob Chychrun-Kevin Connauton
Chicago Blackhawks – 35-18-5 – 79 Points
Home Record: 18-8-4
Hot Players: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz
Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vince Hinostroza
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk
1)The Chicago Blackhawks hold a 2-0 series lead over the Coyotes this season. With a win Thursday, they’d sweep the series at 3-0 and inch closer to the Minnesota Wild who sit atop the Central division.
2)The Arizona Coyotes got the ball rolling in the trade market when they sent defenseman Michael Stone to the Calgary Flames. The Coyotes are near the bottom of the standings once again and could look to sell off more pieces as the trade deadline quickly approaches.
3)Jonathan Toews scored three goals and five points in the Blackhawks last game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. He’ll look to continue his hot streak against the Coyotes on Thursday while playing with linemates Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik.
4)Schmaltz has posted seven points and Panik has posted nine points in the ‘Hawk last six games. They’ve worked well flanking Toews this season – something the Blackhawks should continue to utilize moving forward.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes are on opposite side of the standings. The Blackhawks are looking to make the playoffs and win their fourth Stanley Cup in the last seven years. For the Coyotes, the plan remains focused on the long-term with new general manager John Chayka looking to bring success to the state of Arizona amid all of the controversies that have surrounded the Coyotes hockey club. Every point counts, and while the Blackhawks don’t necessarily need to win this game to make the playoffs, they will need to win every game possible and earn every point if they want to overtake the Wild atop the standings.