Preview: Blackhawks at Coyotes

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[February 04, 2016]  The Chicago Blackhawks outslugged the Arizona Coyotes in the teams' first meeting to begin a franchise-best 12-game winning streak. After dropping three of four to enter the All-Star break, the Blackhawks look to emerge victorious in back-to-back encounters on Thursday when they continue their four-game road trip against the Coyotes.

Corey Crawford wasn't sharp in Chicago's 7-5 victory over Arizona on Dec. 29, but followed up a sterling performance in January that helped net him NHL Second Star honors by stopping 22 shots in a 2-1 triumph over Colorado on Tuesday. "Just because you did well in the last game, or the last little bit, doesn't mean it's going to be easy," Crawford said. "I think I've taken that approach. I think our guys have taken that, too. We always want more." Arizona would like more scoring as it has mustered just 12 goals during its last eight games (2-5-1). Rookie Anthony Duclair tallied for the second straight contest, but Pacific Division-rival Los Angeles spoiled coach Dave Tippett's 1,000th career game behind the bench with a 6-2 decision on Tuesday.

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

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (34-16-4): Rookie Artemi Panarin has scored twice in the last three games and also tallied in the first meeting with Arizona. Linemate Patrick Kane collected a goal and two assists against the Coyotes, raising his point total to 33 (eight goals, 25 assists) in 27 career meetings versus the franchise. Defenseman Duncan Keith also scored a goal and set up two others against Arizona and had an assist versus Colorado for his first point since Jan. 19.

ABOUT THE COYOTES (24-21-5): Captain Shane Doan leads Arizona with 19 goals, with three coming in a hat trick versus Chicago in the first meeting. Like Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three games and only notched four points in his first 14 encounters with the Blackhawks before setting up three goals in the December tilt. Tobias Rieder also had three assists in that contest, but has been limited to just four in his last nine outings.

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1. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup after serving a mandatory one-game suspension for pulling out of the NHL All-Star Game due to illness.

2. The Coyotes scored twice on the power play in the first meeting with the Blackhawks, but are 1-for-28 in their last seven with the man advantage.

3. Chicago is 7-1-2 in its last 10 meetings with the Arizona franchise.

PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2

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