LIVE: Blackhawks, Coyotes need shootout tied at 3

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LIVE: Blackhawks, Coyotes need shootout tied at 3

Sunday Feb. 27, 2011
11:00 a.m.

Associated Press
Things are looking a bit better for the Chicago Blackhawks, but they're far from feeling relaxed.

The Blackhawks look to continue their playoff push and win four straight for the first time in two months Sunday night when they host a Phoenix Coyotes team trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak since early November.

After being four points out of eighth place in the Western Conference following a loss to Columbus last Friday, Chicago (32-23-6) has reeled off three straight wins to pull within one point of the final playoff spot.

"It's all up to us what we do with it," defenseman Duncan Keith said after Thursday's 3-0 victory over Nashville.

Center Patrick Sharp and goaltender Corey Crawford again led the way for Chicago on Thursday.

Sharp had a goal and an assist, giving him four goals and three assists in his last four games. Crawford made 31 saves and is 5-1-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average in his last seven starts.

"(Thursday) I thought was a great team effort," Keith said. "That's what it's going to take."

Joel Quenneville was back on the bench Thursday after missing four games because of a bleeding ulcer. The coach is happy to see Chicago close the gap in the playoff race but knows there is still a lot of work to do with eight teams battling for the final four spots.

"I don't think we're ever in a place where we should feel comfortable," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks, who haven't won four in a row since Dec. 17-26, have earned 12 of 16 points in their last eight games (5-1-2).

One of those one-point outings came in Arizona on Feb. 12.

Taylor Pyatt and Radim Vrbata scored in regulation for the Coyotes, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves and turned aside all three Chicago shootout attempts in a 3-2 win.

Phoenix is 5-1-0 against Chicago since the start of last season after being outscored 23-5 while losing the previous six meetings.

The Coyotes (33-21-9), five points ahead of the Blackhawks for fourth place in the West, arrive in Chicago to conclude a five-game road trip coming off back-to-back disappointing defeats.

After having a season-high eight-game winning streak snapped with an 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday, Phoenix squandered a 2-0, first-period lead in Friday's 5-3 defeat to Columbus. Vrbata, David Schlemko and Lauri Korpikoski all scored Friday for the Coyotes, while Bryzgalov made 29 saves but lost for the first time in nine games.

An inability to kill penalties has spurred Phoenix's sudden struggles.

The Coyotes allowed the Blue Jackets to convert 3 of 9 power plays after the Lightning had three man-advantage goals on four opportunities. They had killed 26 of 31 penalties during their winning streak.

"You can't get in a game like this and beat yourself," coach Dave Tippet said after the loss in Columbus. "We jumped out early, we're playing a real strong road game and decided we were going to take a bunch of penalties. That's just unacceptable for us right now."

Phoenix, which hasn't lost three in a row since Nov. 5-8, might fare better against a Chicago team that is just 1 for 8 on the power play in its last four games.

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Blackhawks Updates: Jonathan Toews 'not getting better,' out vs. Jets

Blackhawks Updates: Jonathan Toews 'not getting better,' out vs. Jets

Jonathan Toews will be out once again with an injury that’s “not getting better,” and Scott Darling will start when the Blackhawks face the Winnipeg Jets tonight at the United Center.

Toews, suffering from a reported back injury, skated on Sunday morning. But coach Joel Quenneville said later in the afternoon that the Blackhawks will keep Toews off the ice for about three days and then, “get a better assessment in the middle of the week.” Once listed as day-to-day, Toews, who was injured on Nov. 23, will now miss his sixth consecutive game.

“Well, you certainly miss his presence in all aspects of his team game, his leadership is as good as anyone who plays,” Quenneville said. “I still think you have to find a way to do what you can to make a contribution and make a simpler game plan.”

Gustav Forsling is expected to play tonight. With Nick Schmaltz reassigned to Rockford earlier on Sunday – to get playing time but also due to cap issues – Andrew Desjardins will move over to center the fourth line.

Darling will start his second consecutive game and is expected to get a bulk of the work with Corey Crawford sidelined after his appendectomy on Saturday. Lars Johansson was recalled to be the Blackhawks’ backup in Crawford’s absence.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Connor Hellebuyck will start against the Blackhawks again tonight. Hellebuyck stopped 27 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Blackhawks on Nov. 15.

BLACKHAWKS VS. WINNIPEG JETS

6 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live Stream: CSNChicago.com/NBC Sports App

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman-Vinnie Hinostroza -Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger -Richard Panik

Tyler Motte-Andrew Desjardins-Jordin Tootoo

 

Duncan Keith-Brian Campbell

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson

 

Scott Darling

 

INJURIES: Jonathan Toews (upper body), Corey Crawford (appendix).

Winnipeg Jets (via Winnipeg Free Press)

Nikolaj Ehlers-Bryan Little-Patrik Laine

Drew Stafford-Mathieu Perrault-Blake Wheeler

Andrew Copp-Adam Lowry-Marko Dano

Brandon Tanev-Alexander Burmistrov-Chris Thorburn

 

Josh Morrissey-Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom-Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot-Paul Postma

 

Connor Hellebuyck

 

INJURIES: Mark Scheifele (lower body), Joel Armia (lower body), Shawn Matthias (lower body), Tyler Myers (lower body).

Blackhawks recall Johansson, assign Schmaltz

Blackhawks recall Johansson, assign Schmaltz

The Blackhawks will be without their No. 1 goaltender for a few weeks, so the obvious backup call-up came on Sunday morning.

At the same time, the Blackhawks are going to give one of their forwards a little work in the minors.

The Blackhawks recalled goaltender Lars Johansson from the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday morning. They also assigned forward Nick Schmaltz to the IceHogs.

Johansson has a 6-7-1 mark with 2.63 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 16 games. This comes one day after Corey Crawford had an appendectomy in Philadelphia prior to the Blackhawks’ 3-1 loss there. Crawford, according to the team, is expected to be out 2-3 weeks.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Schmaltz has a goal and three assists in 26 games with the Blackhawks this season. Schmaltz is one of several forwards who got a top-line opportunity this season and, much like most of the others, couldn’t stick there. He has struggled to find a consistent game.

The Blackhawks face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. Scott Darling is expected to get the start.