The Arizona Coyotes were 35 seconds behind in Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, but they scored three unanswered goals in the third period to win their sixth straight game at Mullett Arena and fourth overall.
The six straight home wins is the Coyotes’ longest home winning streak since an eight-game run from October 19, 2013 to November 16, 2013.
Defender Juuso Valimaki scored the go-ahead goal at 3:12, and Valimaki set up two more. All-Star Clayton Keller had one goal and two assists, and Barrett Hayton and Matias Maccelli also scored for the Coyotes (27-32-11, 65 points) in their 20th home win of the season.
Maccelli struck wide with 38.3 seconds left to seal the 4-2 win.
The Coyotes gave up their first power-play goal at home since March 5 when Chicago’s Caleb Jones scored early in the third period, but Arizona is still 29 for their last 31 on penalties after going 4-for-5 on PK Saturday had gone.
Valimaki is third in the Coyotes with 28 assists and leads all team defenders in that department.
“I think that’s the kind of game I want to play and then I find my game at the best level,” Valimaki said. “They (teammates) are playing at such a high level at the moment. So it’s pretty much all you have to do to pass the puck.”
Coyotes head coach André Tourigny said Valimaki has, among other things, a good hockey sense.
“He had a few phases in the season. But what we like about him is that he’s a really brave guy. He’s really competitive. Obviously he has talent,” said Tourigny. “But I really like his level of competition and courage. He’s not afraid to play in heavy traffic.”
Keller, Hayton extend point streaks
Keller has at least a point with seven goals in that stretch in eight straight games. He also set a career high in a season with his 43rd assist and recorded his 20th multi-point game that season. The last time a Coyote had 20 or more multi-point games in a season was Jeremy Roenick at 25 and Keith Tkachuk at 20 in 2000-01.
Hayton extended his points streak to seven games.
Prosvetov strong again
Ivan Prosvetov has long been a potential Coyotes goalie who hasn’t managed to stay at NHL levels, but at 24 he still has potential. And that potential is turning into results, despite Prosvetov only starting his third game of the season on Saturday.
Make it three starts and three wins for the Moscow, Russia native after stopping 32 shots. The three wins were all achieved that month, and on Saturday Prosvetov survived a skate blade equipment malfunction.
“There’s no secret. I think the whole team is playing really well. I’ve definitely put some work into this summer, you know, and throughout the American (hockey) League season, and I’m still doing that now. So I’m just trying to stick with my routine and work on the ice as much as possible, off the ice, work on my details, work smart. And I’m just trying to stick with it and get some wins,” Prosvetov said. “I definitely saw the puck better and definitely caused chaos in front of the net.”
Think about it
The Coyotes have a better home record than any Western Conference team not in the playoffs and even four teams that would be in the postseason when the regular season ends Saturday.
Arizona has won 11 of their last 15 games at Mullett Arena, and Saturday marked the seventh time in Coyotes/Jets franchise history that the club had 20 home wins in 34 home games or fewer.
Despite the always ample number of Chicago fans in the home team building, which was the case at Glendale as it was at Tempe Saturday, the Coyotes rode home field advantage.
“I would do that every day. Yes, it rocked and you know, we obviously found a way to play good hockey and that’s even more fun,” Valimaki said. “Yeah, that’s just a good word now. It makes a lot of fun.”