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Coyotes at Blackhawks preview

Schmaltz to face Chicago for first time since being traded to Arizona last season

by Brandon Cain / Independent Correspondent

COYOTES (17-10-4) at BLACKHAWKS (12-12-5)



The Game

Nick Schmaltz will face the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since being traded to the Arizona Coyotes when they play at United Center on Sunday.

The forward, who was selected by the Blackhawks No. 20 in the 2014 NHL Draft and played parts of three seasons with Chicago, was acquired by Arizona on Nov. 25, 2018, for forwards Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome. Schmaltz leads the Coyotes in scoring with 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 31 games this season.

The Coyotes are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday after two straight wins. Arizona is 3-1-0 in its past four games against Chicago.

The Blackhawks have won two in a row after going 1-5-1 in their previous seven games. Chicago is 1-4-0 in its past five at home.


Players to watch

Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper has won his past two starts. He's 2-3-1 in his career against Chicago.

Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat has scored in two straight games after going 12 games without a goal.


They said it

"I've been looking forward to it for awhile here now. I know it'll be fun, I'm just going to enjoy it and play as hard as I can." -- Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz on returning to Chicago

"I think this time around just prove that I can play, I can stay, be an everyday kind of guy up here. There's times last year towards the end of the year where I was proving myself a little bit and I'm excited to get a fresh start and another chance here." -- Blackhawks forward Dylan Sikura, who was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Sunday 


Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller - - Derek Stepan - - Vinnie Hinostroza

Christian Dvorak - - Nick Schmaltz - - Conor Garland

Lawson Crouse - - Carl Soderberg - - Phil Kessel

Michael Grabner - - Brad Richardson - - Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - - Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun - - Alex Goligoski

Jordan Oesterle - - Ilya Lyubushkin

Darcy Kuemper

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Barrett Hayton, Michael Chaput

Injured: Niklas Hjalmarsson (lower body)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad - - Jonathan Toews - - Alex Nylander

Alex DeBrincat - - Dylan Strome - - Patrick Kane

Dylan Sikura - - David Kampf - - Dominik Kubalik

Ryan Carpenter - - Kirby Dach - - Zack Smith

Calvin de Haan - - Brent Seabrook

Erik Gustafsson - - Dennis Gilbert

Slater Koekkoek - - Connor Murphy

Robin Lehner

Corey Crawford

Scratched: None

Injured: Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Duncan Keith (groin), Olli Maatta (illness), Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol)


Status report

The Blackhawks re-assigned forward Anton Wedin to the AHL. He did not score a point in four games. … Sikura has no goals and eight assists in 38 NHL games.


Stat pack

Saad will play his 400th game with Chicago. … Kane has 11 goals and 15 assists in his past 18 games. ... Dvorak has two goals and six points in his past six games.

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