March 18, 2023 | 7:30 p.m. MST | Mullett Arena | Tempe, Ariz.
TV: Bally Sports Arizona | Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (English)/KHOV 105.1 FM (Spanish)
Fresh from a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks On Thursday, the Arizona Coyotes wrap up their four home games against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Arizona has won three straight games — and five straight at Mullett Arena — and Saturday is the fourth and final game between the two teams. The Coyotes are 1-1-1 this season with Chicago and won the last game 4-1 in Tempe on February 28th.
Arizona is also in the midst of a seven-game points streak and has the most points in the NHL as of the close, sharing that honor with the Vegas Golden Knights. This solid game is down to a number of factors, including strong goalies, outstanding play from special teams and top-down point production.
Forward Clayton Keller has accumulated points in seven straight games, recording six goals and seven assists Barret Hayton has a six-game point streak. Arizona’s topline has performed exceptionally well throughout the Coyotes’ 5-0-2 stretch, even without a forward Nick Schmaltz.
Coyotes head coach André Tourigny said Schmaltz is expected to return tonight and celebrate his first game since March 11.
Arizona has also received many secondary scoring and forwards Travis Boyd has five points, including three goals, in his last five games. The 29-year-old has rebounded after a bit of a mid-season break and is just six points shy of his 35 points, which he achieved as a career-best last season.
“I’ve moved away from the things that I’m good at out there, and a big thing is that I lost a lot of confidence going through a downturn,” Boyd said. “Once you start seeing good things happening again it just snows more and more and more and I think that’s what’s going on with me right now.
“I have so much fun coming to the rink every day.”
Ivan Prosvetov will make his second straight start, and he has won his first two this season, including the last game against the Canucks. He’s held 1.50 goals against average and 0.958 percent in his two starts this year.
“He’s looked pretty good in the last two games,” said Tourigny. “There are some things in his game that are difficult if you don’t play regularly, so for Ivan I think two starts in a row like this will help him find some rhythm.”
The Coyotes’ special teams were another bright spot, especially considering the penalty shootout has given up just one power play goal in their last six games. The team was just as dangerous with the man advantage, recording a 38.46 percent win rate over the same period.
“The guys have been working on it for a long time,” said Tourigny. “Since the All-Star break, we’ve been really effective, especially on the power play.”
Player to watch: Keep an eye on Schmaltz, who had three goals and one assist in the four games before his absence. The former Blackhawk has 10 points in nine games against his former team.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS
Chicago, meanwhile, have won back-to-back games, including a 6-3 win over league-leading Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Forward Taylor Raddysh scored a hat-trick in that game and has seven points in his last five games.
Raddysh leads the team in both goals (20) and points (33), while defenseman Seth Jones leads with 21 assists. Alex Stalock has been at the net in the Blackhawks’ last two games and is 9-8-1 with 2.70 GAA and 0.922 SV%. Petr Mrazek has played 33 games for the Hawks this season and has an 8-19-3 record with 3.63 GAA and 0.895 SV%.
Stalock is expected to be awarded the contract tonight
“Every time we play Chicago, they challenge us,” said Tourigny. “They work really hard, they’re hard on the forecheck and they’re pushing a lot, so we have to be ready for ourselves to play a game like that.”
Chicago’s penalty shootout has also been on the ball lately after failing to concede a power-play goal in four games.
Player to watch: Winger Joey Anderson has been developing a lot lately, recording three goals and two assists in his last five games.