Skip to Main Content

Richards' goal lifts Blackhawks past Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the Chicago Blackhawks continue to search for offense with leading scorer Patrick Kane out of the lineup, two veterans ended long scoring droughts Thursday to provide just enough for a victory.

Brad Richards' first goal in 24 games - and his 900th NHL point - broke a tie with 7:11 left in regulation, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes.

With his father among the horde of Chicago fans in the standing-room-only crowd of 17,534 at Gila River Arena, Richards put home the rebound of Kris Versteeg's shot on the sixth of seven Chicago power plays and the 41st of 45 Chicago shots.

"It's been a tough time, I don't think I've ever gone that long [without a goal] so that will take a little weight off the shoulders," said Richards, 34, who has 286 goals among his 900 points. "Getting 900 points is hard to believe. It was special doing it here with my dad watching."

Andrew Shaw scored his first goal in 19 games, also on the power play, in the first period for Chicago, which is 4-1-1 without Kane despite scoring two goals or fewer in four of the six games. Corey Crawford made 17 saves to earn his 27th victory.

"We've got a lot of guys in here who can score goals on a regular basis, but when guys go through tough times it hurts your confidence and it's hard to play the rest of the game," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "It was great to see [Richards] get a big one there at the end. If guys like that start scoring, it makes the game a little easier on our team."

Tobias Rieder scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who have lost 13 of their past 14 games and scored just 19 goals during that span. They have allowed two goals in each of the past four games - and lost three of them (1-2-1).

Arizona goalie Mike Smith played well with 43 saves - 32 of them in the first two periods. But a Chicago power play that had been 0-for-15 coming into the game had plenty of chances to get well, and eventually did.

"They have a pretty good team with some pretty good players, and when you traipse them out there on the power play seven times you're playing with fire," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We took penalty after penalty, and Mike allowed us to hang around. But when you take that many bad penalties it's going to catch up to you."

The Coyotes got a scare in the final minute when star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was checked hard into the boards from behind by Chicago's Joakim Nordstrom in the final minute of the game and skated off, favoring his right shoulder. But Tippett said the injury wasn't serious and he hoped Ekman-Larsson could play against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Nordstrom's boarding penalty gave Arizona a 6-on-4 power play for the final 38.5 seconds after pulling Smith, but the Coyotes were unable to get off a shot at Crawford.

With the two Chicago baseball teams also in town for spring training, Blackhawks jerseys dominated the stands and their team dominated the first period with a 17-6 advantage in shots.

But the Coyotes scored first.

Mark Arcobello sent Rieder into the Chicago zone with a bank pass off the left-side boards. From the left circle, Rieder beat Crawford cleanly with a wrist shot between the pads at 4:53. Rieder's 11th goal of the season was his third in the past five games and the most goals by an Arizona rookie since Mikkel Boedker had 11 in 2008-09.

But the Coyotes didn't get another shot for nearly 14 minutes while the Blackhawks controlled the puck, drew two Arizona penalties and tied the game.

With Martin Erat in the box for holding Versteeg, Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy blocked a shot from the point by Duncan Keith. But the puck slid behind him to where Shaw was waiting, and Shaw swept a backhand between Smith's pads at 8:10 for his 10th goal of the season and first since Jan. 28 against the Los Angeles Kings.

With some help from six minutes of power-play time, Chicago had 18 more shots in the second period. But the Blackhawks came up empty against Smith. Their best chances came after John Moore's boarding penalty at 2:43, when Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp each failed to finish with the puck on their sticks from in close.

Kyle Chipchura's double minor for clipping Nordstrom in the lip gave the Blackhawks four minutes of power-play time later in the period, but the Coyotes limited Chicago to two shots to keep the game even.

However, when Moore sent the puck over the boards with less than nine minutes left for a delay of game call, Richards and the Blackhawks cashed in for the game-winner. Coyotes Joe Vitale and Lauri Korpikoski allowed Versteeg to skate up the slot alone, forcing the defense to converge on him as he shot. Smith made the save, but no one was left to stop Richards on the rebound.

"[The power play] was definitely needed and necessary and it really proved to be the difference," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We did some good things, and the best part was the power play success."

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.