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Hawks finish long trip with visit to Phoenix

by John Kreiser
BLACKHAWKS (28-22-5) at COYOTES (28-19-9)

TV -- CSN-Chicago (HD); FS-Arizona (HD)

Last 10 -- Chicago 4-4-2; Phoenix 5-5-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for just the second time this season, with the Hawks finishing a six-game trip with their first visit of the season to the desert. The Coyotes won the only meeting so far, beating the Hawks 2-1 in Chicago on Nov. 10, and are 4-1-0 in the last five games between the teams.

Big story -- The Coyotes may finally be figuring things out -- they've won three in a row, including a 3-2 overtime win at Dallas on Wednesday. The road-weary Hawks come to Phoenix after blowing a 3-0 lead in Dallas on Friday and losing 4-3 in a shootout as ex-Star Marty Turco was beaten by his former teammates on all three shots in the tiebreaker. The Hawks are four points behind seventh-place Phoenix and three behind the eighth-place Calgary Flames, though they have games in hand on both.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks -- There weren't a lot of smiles in the Hawks' locker room after the shootout loss to the Stars. There rarely are when you've been unable to turn a 3-0 lead into two points.

"Every time we lose, it's the same thing that happens and we don't change it," captain Jonathan Toews said, "We had a good first period, and we had a good effort, we were doing the right things and somehow it goes away in the second. I don't understand what's going on and the writing's on the wall. We get satisfied and we give teams a chance to come back."

Coyotes -- You don't give up a lot of goals when the opposition can't get chances at the net, and that's how the Coyotes have been thriving. They've allowed an average of just 23 shots during their three-game winning streak, and permitted just 18 in the OT win at Dallas.

"Our identity is to play a tight game, like you've seen the last three," forward Lee Stempniak said. "The big thing for us is to not have to go out and score five or six goals to get a win, if we can limit them to two goals, we have a way better chance to get a win."

Who's hot -- Toews has 2 goals and 10 assists during a season-high six-game point streak. … Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed just two goals in winning his last three starts. Radim Vrbata has 3 goals in his last two games.

Injury report -- Chicago lost three players during Friday night's game -- right wing Fernando Pisani, center Ryan Johnson and left wing Viktor Stalberg all left with upper-body injuries and didn't return. They'll be evaluated on Saturday. Marian Hossa didn't play Friday due to the flu. … Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who has missed the past four games because of an upper-body injury, is day-to-day. Defenseman David Schlemko, who has missed 10 games with a head injury, has started skating and hopes to rejoin the team at practice next week.

Stat pack -- The Coyotes are 20-0-3 when allowing less than three goals. … Chicago rookie Corey Crawford, the likely starter in goal, has lost three of his last four starts after going 4-0-1 with two shutouts in his previous five games.

Puck drop -- Marty Turco is likely to sit after a disappointing night in his return to Dallas, the only city he called home until joining the Hawks last summer. He received a video tribute and a warm ovation, but was treated rudely by his former teammates in the shootout -- allowing goals to all three shooters he faced.

"Other than (Brenden) Morrow's, where I knew where he was shooting, the other ones, you get beat, you get beat," Turco said. "It's a little tougher to swallow this time, but I felt pretty good. But not to get two points and the win is disappointing."

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