Skip to main content


Coyotes-Blackhawks Preview @NHL

The resurgent Phoenix Coyotes, in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season, look to match their best run in nearly five years when they visit the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Phoenix (18-20-2) has won five in a row and earned a point in seven straight games, increasing its total to 38 points - one ahead of Chicago (17-19-5), which has dropped four of its last five.

The Coyotes last won five straight from Dec. 31, 2003-Jan. 9, 2004, and are looking for their first six-game winning streak since March 3-15, 2002.

Phoenix continued its hot play Friday night by rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory over Atlanta. Yanic Perreault scored in the extra period for the Coyotes after they forced overtime by erasing a three-goal deficit in the third period.

"We've been trying to get the momentum going," right wing Shane Doan said. "We know how a roll can carry us a long way."

Perreault also had an assist and extended his point streak to six games, during which he has four goals and five assists. Doan scored twice Friday and has 10 points in his last five games (five goals, five assists).

Perreault has 31 points in 34 games against the Blackhawks.

Curtis Joseph has helped key the Coyotes' turnaround. He failed to earn a third straight shutout, but made 18 saves to win his fourth consecutive start.

"Our chemistry has been good," Joseph said. "We're pushing each other. Guys are getting their roles defined. We never admit defeat.

"We never admit defeat. We play until the final buzzer."

Phoenix will be looking to improve to 4-0 on its season-high five-game road trip. The Coyotes, who have won four in a row on the road, conclude the trip Tuesday night at Dallas.

Chicago has lost four in a row to Phoenix, although each of those games were decided by one goal. The Coyotes won the first two meetings of this season in shootouts, 3-2 on Nov. 16 and 2-1 on Dec. 7.

The Blackhawks weren't nearly as competitive in their last contest, suffering their worst loss of the season in an 8-3 pounding by Nashville on Friday night. Chicago allowed its highest goal total since a 9-1 defeat at Dallas on Nov. 4, 2005.

"Everything went wrong," said Blackhawks coach Denis Savard, whose team has dropped two straight and four of five. "Turnovers, our coverage wasn't very good in our zone. We'll work through it. It's something that can be fixed."

The Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the power play Friday and are 1-for-25 over the last five games. They'll be facing a Coyotes club that has killed off 24 of the last 26 power plays against.

Chicago, which managed seven goals in the last four defeats, is likely to be without leading scorer Martin Havlat on Sunday, as the forward is nursing a groin pull suffered in Thursday's loss to St. Louis.

Havlat has 13 goals and 13 assists in 21 games to top a team that's 27th in the NHL with 2.49 goals per game.

Chicago's No. 1 goaltender hasn't been nearly as effective as Phoenix's of late, as Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled for a second straight home game Friday after allowing four goals on 13 shots. He was replaced after one period in a 5-3 loss to Boston on Dec. 29 after giving up three goals on just seven shots.

Khabibulin, though, might be able to get back on track against the Coyotes. He began his 11-year career with the Phoenix franchise and is 5-1-0 with a 1.12 GAA in seven meetings with the Coyotes.

View More