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Blackhawks at Coyotes preview

Kane eyes point in 12th straight for Chicago; Ekman-Larsson game-time decision for Arizona

by Alan Robinson / Independent Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (24-21-6) at COYOTES (26-21-6)



The Game

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be a game-time decision for the Arizona Coyotes when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

The defenseman, who sustained a lower-body injury midway through the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, participated in the morning skate Saturday. 

The Coyotes, who will try to end a four-game winless streak (0-3-1), are 1-5-2 in their past eight games.

Arizona, which has defeated Chicago twice this season, will try to sweep a season series against the Blackhawks for the first time in Coyotes/original Winnipeg Jets history.  

Patrick Kane can extend his point streak to 12 games for Chicago; the forward has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in an 11-game stretch and 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 40 games against Arizona.

The Blackhawks look to win for the sixth time in seven games (5-1-0) and 12th time in 17 games (11-5-0), playing for the first time since a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Jan. 21. 


Players to watch

Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past seven games and needs one point for 800 in the NHL.

Coyotes forward Taylor Hall has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six games and 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 23 games against Chicago in his NHL career.


They said it

"The schedule here at the end is going to be intense. Once you get to this point of the season, you're close to the end and the games are so big, it gets easier to prepare yourself." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

"We've got to win a hockey game. You put that mindset in. What's it going to take to play a good game and win a hockey game? That's basically it, you simplify your game." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet


Blackhawks projected lineup

Dominik Kubalik -- Jonathan Toews -- Drake Caggiula

Brandon Saad -- Kirby Dach -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- David Kampf -- Dylan Strome

Alex Nylander -- Ryan Carpenter -- Zack Smith

Duncan Keith -- Adam Boqvist

Erik Gustafsson -- Connor Murphy

Olli Maatta -- Slater Koekkoek

Corey Crawford

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Matthew Highmore, Dennis Gilbert

Injured: Calvin de Haan (right shoulder), Brent Seabrook (right shoulder/left and right hip), Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol)


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Christian Dvorak -- Conor Garland

Clayton Keller -- Derek Stepan -- Phil Kessel

Lawson Crouse -- Nick Schmaltz -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Carl Soderberg

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Alex Goligoski -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Jordan Oesterle

Antti Raanta

Adin Hill

Scratched: Christian Fischer, Ilya Lyubushkin, Kyle Capobianco

Injured: Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Barrett Hayton (upper body)


Status report

Strome (ankle) will return after missed seven games. … Richardson (lower body) and Demers (lower body) will each be a game-time decision, Tocchet said. Each took part in the morning skate. … Goalie Kuemper, out since Dec. 19, is getting closer to returning.


Stat pack

Kubalik has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in his past 10 games. … Garland, who will play in his 100th NHL game, has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games.

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