COYOTES (19-27-7) AT BLACKHAWKS (33-18-2)
TV: NBCSN, CSN-CH
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 Rieder – Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Lucas Lessio – Brendan Shinnimin – Sam Gagner
Lauri Korpikoski – Kyle Chipchura – David Moss
Brandon McMillan – Alexandre Bolduc – Martin Erat
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle – Michael Stone
Andrew Campbell – Connor Murphy
Scratched: Chris Summers, B.J. Crombeen
Injured: Mikkel Boedker (spleen surgery), Martin Hanzal (upper body), Joe Vitale (upper body)
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp – Brad Richards – Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Teuvo Teravainen
Daniel Carcillo – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith
Duncan Keith – Michal Rozsival
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya – David Rundblad
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.