PHOENIX, AZ – The Chicago Blackhawks stumbled into their Thursday night match-up against the Arizona Coyotes on the heels of three consecutive losses, including a loss on Tuesday night in San Jose to open their current six game road trip.
The Blackhawks were outscored 13-6 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, and San Jose Sharks in their last three games leading up to Thursday evening’s meeting with the Coyotes in Phoenix. Poor goaltending coupled with poor third period performances fueled the Hawks’ mini-slide, one that has them now six points behind the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division, and third in the Western Conference behind both the Wild, and the San Jose Sharks.
The Blackhawks would go slump busting in the desert on Thursday night though, with strong performances from their top-6 forwards. The Blackhawks jumped all over the Coyotes in the first period, running out to a three goal lead on the strength of goals by Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman and Marian Hossa.
Patrick Kane got a wrist-shot by Arizona goalie Mike Smith on the Blackhawks Power-Play with 11:16 remaining in the first period to get the scoring started for the Hawks’. The goal was Kane’s 16th of the season, he was assisted by Duncan Keith (30) and Jonathan Toews (20) on the play.
Just over a minute later, Ryan Hartman scored his 11th goal of the season on a slap-shot, giving the Blackhawks an early 2-0 lead over the Coyotes. Duncan Keith (31), and Andrew Desjardins (1) notched assists on the goal by Hartman.
With 5:45 remaining in the opening frame, the Blackhawks capitalized on another Power-Play opportunity, this time on the strength of a beautiful breakaway goal by Marian Hossa (19), with assists coming from Artemi Panarin (28) and Brent Seabrook (23). The Blackhawks would take a 3-0 lead into the second period after the outburst of goals by the Blackhawks forwards.
The Coyotes would get on the scoreboard early in the second period, on a Oliver Ekman-Larsson wrist-shot past Corey Crawford with 18:24 to go. The Power-Play goal was assisted by Radim Vrbata (24) and Michael Stone (8). Artemi Panarin would get the early Coyotes goal right back just a few minutes later, putting a slap-shot past Mike Smith to stretch the Blackhawks lead to 4-1 in the second period. The goal was the 18th of the season for Panarin, Artem Anisimov (17) and Patrick Kane (35) recorded the assists on the score.
The Coyotes would net a pair of goals in the latter half of the second period to draw to within one of the Blackhawks. First on a Christian Dvorak goal, his 5th of the season, and again just a minute later when Brendan Perlini scored on a wrist-shot attempt past Corey Crawford, cutting the Blackhawks lead to 4-3 after two periods in the desert.
The Blackhawks got another power play opportunity early in the third period but couldn’t capitalize for a third time on the evening, when Gustav Forsling led Artemi Panarin too far on the one-timer, their best scoring opportunity on the penalty.
The Blackhawks would hold the Coyotes scoreless in the third period, and snap their three game losing streak on Thursday night, with a 4-3 win over the Coyotes. Patrick Kane notched a goal and an assist on the evening, as did Artemi Panarin, while Duncan Keith was the third Blackhawks player with two points on the evening, recording two assists. Corey Crawford saved 24 of the 27 Arizona shots in the contest, as the Blackhawks improved their record to 31-17-5 on the season.
The Blackhawks are back in action on Saturday when they visit the Dallas Stars at 7:00 pm (CT), you can watch the game on NHL Network and WGN (TV) and listen on 720AM-WGN (Radio).