Friday, February 07, 2014
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Preview: Blackhawks at Coyotes

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[February 07, 2014]  A lengthy road trip is proving to be just what the Chicago Blackhawks needed. Chicago has earned at least one point in each of the first five contests of its seven-game trek, which continues Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Blackhawks are 3-0-2 on their excursion after suffering back-to-back regulation losses for just the second time this season.

The Blackhawks are coming off an impressive 2-0 triumph at Anaheim on Wednesday in which Corey Crawford made 29 saves for his ninth career shutout and Marian Hossa recorded a goal and an assist. Phoenix looks to salvage the finale of the three-game season series against Chicago as it wraps up a five-game homestand. The Coyotes, who went 0-1-1 in the first two meetings with the Blackhawks, are 2-2-0 on the stretch at home following a 3-1 loss to Dallas on Tuesday.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (35-10-14): Chicago added a pair of centers on Thursday, acquiring Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the New York Islanders for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. Regin, who recorded two goals and five assists in 44 games with New York, will remain with the Blackhawks while Bouchard will report to Rockford of the American Hockey League. A former 20-goal scorer, Bouchard notched four tallies and five assists in 28 contests with the Islanders before being sent to AHL Bridgeport.


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ABOUT THE COYOTES (26-20-10): No one is hotter for Phoenix than Antoine Vermette, who enters Friday with a career-high eight-game point streak. The 31-year-old has collected eight goals and three assists during the run and has netted nine of his team-leading 21 tallies over his last 10 contests. After going head-to-head on Friday, Rob Klinkhammer will celebrate what should be the happiest moment of his life with Kris Versteeg as the Chicago forward will serve as best man at the Phoenix center's wedding on Feb. 15. The close friends met for dinner Thursday to discuss the plans for the event. "I need to review what he's planning to say for the best man toast and see if it's appropriate," Klinkhammer joked.

OVERTIME

  1. Chicago assigned C Brandon Pirri to Rockford. The 22-year-old recorded six goals and five assists in 28 games with the Blackhawks this season but was kept off the scoresheet in each of his last 12 contests.

  2. Vermette is six goals shy of his career high of 27 set in 2009-10 while with Columbus.

  3. The Blackhawks will be without RW Patrick Kane, who is attending the funeral of his grandfather.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Coyotes 2

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