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Coyotes blow into the Windy City

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In a seven game home series the Coyotes proved that they are a force at home. They look to be just as successful on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Arizona Coyotes v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes had a chance to pick up two points against one of the worst teams in the Western Conference for the second time in the same week and they weren’t about to let history repeat itself. If the Coyotes are going to advance to the playoffs they are going to need to take advantage of situations like these and get points whenever they can.

While Arizona struck first with Christian Dvorak scoring his first goal of the season on the power play and Michael Grabner getting a short handed goal, the Kings would not be easily defeated. Los Angeles would tie the game with goals late in the first and early in the third and it looked like Arizona may be in trouble. But Dvorak and Grabner weren’t done and both would score again giving Arizona a 4-2 win.

With that win and a Minnesota Wild loss the Coyotes are only a point behind the Wild for the final Wild Card spot with the Coyotes having a game in hand. If you want to set your sights a bit higher they are only two points behind the Dallas Stars for the first Wild Card spot, but barring a complete collapse of the Vegas Golden Knights they likely can’t go higher than that. But Arizona needs to keep its foot on the gas as the Colorado Avalanche are only one point behind Arizona, though they have played one more game.

It wasn’t too long ago that Arizona’s long time trading partner the Chicago Blackhawks were at the bottom of the standings. Thanks to a few late pushes though they are firmly in the middle of the bottom ten teams. The way things are going the odds that they will make it into the playoffs is extremely unlikely, Sports Club Stats gives them 1.7% chance at the time of this writing, but they also probably played themselves out of a the draft lottery odds. Gotta give it to a team that doesn’t go all in on tanking, but odds are this season will end in disappointment for Chicago fans.

Chicago is an interesting team as of late. They are 3-2-0 in their last few games with wins against the Anaheim Ducks, the Dallas Stars, and a shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres. The win against the Stars definitely helps Arizona, but other then them those aren’t super impressive teams. They lost 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks (makes sense) and 6-3 to the Kings (less sense). All in all they are a team that Arizona is going to need to take seriously, but this doesn’t seem like an unwinnable game for the Coyotes.

The Blackhawks have a lot of really talented forwards so its no surprise that they are eighth in the league with 225 goals scored. A bit more surprising is that they seem to have forgotten how to play defense and they have allowed the second most goals having been scored on 254 times. Considering they have played one fewer team then the Ottawa Senators who have allowed the most goals (257) there is a chance they may finish at the bottom of the league. They have one of the better power plays in the league (11th, 21.1%) and the worst penalty kill in the league (73%).

Players to Watch

Arizona: Christian Dvorak - Dvorak impressed with two goals against the Kings and with Stepan out until mid April he will have a big role as the season ends. Fresh off of injury he hopefully won’t push himself too hard but he will be key going into the end of the season.

Chicago: Alex Debrincat - Debrincat had a goal against the Stars and has three goals in his last five games. He is second on the Blackhawks with 37 goals this season.

Injuries

Arizona: Derek Stepan (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)

Chicago: Drake Caggiula (questionable, concussion), Cam Ward (knee)

Poll

Poll

Can Arizona’s 23rd ranked power play solve Chicago’s 31st ranked penalty kill?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes
    (21 votes)
  • 30%
    No
    (9 votes)
30 votes total Vote Now