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GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (20-31-17-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (20-38-9-6).

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST.

Judging by his team's performance since he became coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, it seems unlikely that Rick Bowness will retain the job next season.

The Coyotes will try to end a 14-game winless streak and give Bowness his first victory when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since Bowness replaced Bob Francis as the Coyotes' interim coach Feb. 24, the team is 0-7-2-3.

Phoenix is 0-8-3-3 in its last 14 and 2-16-4-4 since consecutive wins over San Jose and Detroit in late January.

The 14-game skid is the third-longest in franchise history. The Winnipeg Jets went 19 games without a victory in 1994-95 and were winless in 30 consecutive games during the 1980-81 season, the Jets' second in the NHL.

A punchless power play, key injuries and the struggles of goalie Brian Boucher have all been contributing factors during the winless streak.

The power play has one goal in the last 22 opportunities and hasn't been helped by the absence of leading goal-scorer Ladislav Nagy, who is out for the season with a dislocated left wrist.

"We're not happy with our power play, for starters," Bowness said. "We know we have a lot of inexperienced players in our lineup, and we have to cut down on our chances against and penalties."

Boucher is 3-15-5 since recording his NHL-record fifth consecutive shutout on Jan. 9.

Phoenix is coming off one of its best performances in a month - a 1-1 tie against visiting Detroit on Thursday.

Chicago also has little left to play for and is barely ahead of Columbus in the race to avoid finishing with the Western Conference's worst record.

Tyler Arnason completed his second career hat trick at 1:44 of overtime Friday, lifting the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over Vancouver.

Jim Vandermeer also scored for the Blackhawks, 2-6-2-1 in their last 11.

After a lengthy slump, Arnason has seven goals and nine assists in 12 games. He has seven goals and seven assists in his last nine, following an altercation with coach Brian Sutter in a Nashville country music bar on Feb. 29.

Arnason's play has also benefitted linemates Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Daze. Ruutu has nine goals and eight assists in his last 12 games.

"We know where each other are going to be," Arnason said. "It's going all right. Dazer is a world-class player and Ruutie is going to be a world-class player."

STANDINGS (through March 19): Coyotes - 63 points, 5th place, 29 PB, Pacific Division. Blackhawks - 55 points, 4th place, 42 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Shane Doan and Nagy, 24 goals; Doan, 40 assists and 64 points; Andrei Nazarov, 125 PIM. Blackhawks - Kyle Calder, 21 goals; Arnason, 30 assists and 50 points; Travis Moen, 126 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 19): Coyotes - Power play: 14.6 percent (48 for 329), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (303 for 369), 23rd. Blackhawks - Power play: 15.5 percent (50 for 322), 18th. Penalty killing: 84.7 percent (288 for 340), 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Boucher (9-17-9, 5 SO, 2.72 GAA); Brent Johnson (4-6-2, 1, 2.44). Blackhawks - Michael Leighton (6-18-6, 2, 3.07); Adam Munro (1-2-1, 3.20).


LAST MEETING: Dec. 7; 2-2 tie. At Chicago, Doan scored on the power play with 67 seconds left in regulation to get the Coyotes a point.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 10-14-10-2 on the road; Blackhawks - 13-14-5-5 at home.

Associated Press
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