The Chicago Blackhawks look to snap a four-game winless skid on Sunday night when they open a five-game homestand against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Blackhawks (24-35-10, 58 points) and Coyotes (21-42-5, 47 points) have split the first two meetings of the season, with each side winning on home ice. Chicago posted a 2-1 win on Nov. 12, while Arizona skated to a 6-4 victory on Jan. 6.
Chicago’s recent trek to the Sunshine State left it with back-to-back defeats against two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams — the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
There were few positives against the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers, who recorded a convincing 4-0 win on Thursday.
Despite surrendering four goals to Florida on 44 shots, backup goalie Collin Delia kept the visitors in the contest with a number of stellar saves.
In Tampa the following night, the Blackhawks showed some moxie and rebounded from a quick two-goal deficit. Calvin de Haan and Alex DeBrincat scored in the first period before Chicago fell 5-2.
Kevin Lankinen returned in the crease and made 38 saves.
After being outscored 9-2 in Florida, Chicago dropped to 2-5-2 in its past nine games.
Blackhawks interim coach Derek King said his bunch can’t keep up with the league’s elite teams like the two in Florida.
“We try,” King stated. “We just can’t compete with that type of team. We’re not there. We don’t have the players for it.”
DeBrincat (39 tallies) is on the brink of the 40-goal plateau for the second time. He netted 41 in 2018-19.
Dylan Strome recorded his 100th career assist on DeBrincat’s goal versus the Lightning.
The Coyotes on Friday dropped a 5-0 decision to the Anaheim Ducks, who snapped an 11-game winless skid (0-8-3). Arizona played without star forward Clayton Keller, who fractured his femur in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.
In addition to Keller, the club played without forwards Lawson Crouse (hand) and Christian Fischer (lower body) and defenseman Jakob Chychrun (ankle). Forward Hudson Fasching was recalled from American Hockey League affiliate Tucson and logged 14:20 of ice time.
Karel Vejmelka yielded three goals on nine shots before being pulled in the first period for the Coyotes, who fell to 1-6-1 in their past eight games.
Despite the loss, coach Andre Tourigny was pleased Jay Beagle supported goalie Josef Korenar in a late fight with Anaheim’s Troy Terry.
“I think we need to stand up for ourselves, and I like what he did,” Tourigny said of Beagle, who had four inches and approximately 25 pounds on Terry. “There’s a whack at our goalie, he had a presence there, and then he got jumped, and he answered the bell. That’s good stuff in my opinion.”
Anaheim didn’t see it that way.
“I think it’s embarrassing,” said the Ducks’ dazzling center Trevor Zegras, who was cross-checked in the back by Beagle. “I think (Beagle) should be embarrassed.
“It’s humiliating, and he should be (expletive) punished.”
–Field Level Media