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At the Rink: Coyotes at Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Winning more than two games in a row is something the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to accomplish for the first time in nearly two months when they host the Arizona Coyotes at United Center on Monday.

Since their eight-game winning streak from Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, the Blackhawks have gone 13-10-1 and won two consecutive games three times. After defeating the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Sunday, they have a chance to stretch their current streak to three straight in their second game against the Coyotes this season. They can start to close the gap on the Nashville Predators (76 points), who lead the Central Division and have an eight-point advantage on the third-place Blackhawks (68 points).

"It'd be nice to go on a run," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. "[The Predators have] had a very consistent year. St. Louis is coming off a major run, as well. It really helps you. I mean, you can really move up in the standings when you put something together and you're getting points in 10 or so games in a row."

Chicago is coming off a seven-game road trip. The game will be the first of eight straight home games for the Blackhawks and the second half of a back-to-back set.

The Blackhawks' record against teams currently outside the playoffs is 4-5-0 in 2015, after starting the season 13-1-1 against them.

"We've got a different opponent tonight," said Quenneville, who will address the Coyotes' subpar record with his team. "We caught them on one of those nights [in the previous game], but they've played four really good games since the All-Star break. I'm sure they're not happy about what happened that night, so from their side, I know that we've got to be respectful and have the same mindset and approach that we had the last couple of games."

Blackhawks backup goalie Antti Raanta, who earned the win in the prior game against Arizona, will start. Mike Smith will start for the Coyotes, who will use the same lineup they had in a loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Smith, who allowed all six goals in the first game against Chicago, has a 1.30 goals-against average and .959 save percentage in his past three starts (93 saves on 97 shots).

Raanta has started three of Chicago's previous 18 games, posting a 1-2-0 record with a 2.00 GAA and .921 save percentage. The second-year goalie is 7-0-0 with a 1.29 GAA and .959 save percentage in eight appearances at United Center this season and 14-0-2 with a 1.50 GAA and .945 save percentage for his career on home ice.

Here are the projected lineups:


Tobias RiederAntoine VermetteShane Doan

Lucas LessioBrendan ShinniminSam Gagner

Lauri KorpikoskiKyle ChipchuraDavid Moss

Brandon McMillanAlexandre BolducMartin Erat

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleMichael Stone

Andrew CampbellConnor Murphy

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Chris Summers, B.J. Crombeen

Injured: Mikkel Boedker (spleen surgery), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Joe Vitale (upper body)


Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpBrad RichardsPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawTeuvo Teravainen

Daniel CarcilloMarcus KrugerBen Smith

Duncan KeithMichal Rozsival

Niklas HjalmarssonBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaDavid Rundblad

Antti Raanta

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Tim Erixon, Joakim Nordstrom

Injured: Kris Versteeg (left hand), Trevor van Riemsdyk (patella)

Status report: Versteeg is close to returning, but isn't expected to play until Wednesday at the earliest, when the Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks. … Hanzal and Vitale did not make the trip. Hanzal was placed on injured reserve Sunday. .... Boedker made the trip to stay around the team during his recovery. He is out on a week-to-week basis.

Who's hot: Kane's secondary assist on a goal by Bickell at the St. Louis Blues on Sunday gave him 59 points (26 goals), which is tied with Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek and Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin for the NHL lead. … Yandle has a six-game point streak, the longest of the season for the Coyotes, and has 12 assists in his past 11 games.

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