GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)Patrick Kane scored in the overtime shootout and ran his points streak to 12 games, and Corey Crawford stopped both shootout attempts he faced, leading the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Brandon Saad scored twice in regulation and the Blackhawks won their first game out of the break and sixth of their last seven. Kane scored the shootout winner and assisted on both Saad goals. Crawford finished with 40 saves.
The Blackhawks’ winning ways have them in contention for a playoff spot in the West.
”We’re going to have to have the points. As we go forward, the points are huge. We’re not going to catch anyone by surprise, especially these teams that we’re trying to chase now, that we’re battling,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. ”We need that urgency. We need that attention to detail, but we feel like when we get it we’re real competitive.”
Brad Richardson and Conor Garland scored for the Coyotes, who have lost five straight and are 1-5-3 in their last nine games. Arizona has lost all three games out of the break, including back-to-back overtime games at home.
Goaltender Antti Raanta had 42 saves, including a dramatic save of Saad’s backhander at 14:29 of the third period. Raanta was on his stomach and flipped his back legs and skates in the air to deflect the puck – like a scorpion.
Raanta was also strong in the three-on-three overtime, but couldn’t keep the Blackhawks from scoring in the shootout.
”There were a lot of breakaways and a lot of broken coverages. I’m not sure I like that type of hockey, but I do like our response,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. ”(Raanta) played a heck of a game for us.”
The overtime period was end-to-end action, with Raanta turning away the Blackhawks with quick-reflex saves on shots from Dominilk Kubalik, Duncan Keith and Alex DeBrincat.
In the shootout, Jonathan Toews and Kane made Raanta commit too early from his position and scored easily.
The Blackhawks led 1-0 after the first period. A Crawford save at one end started a rush, with Kane feeding Saad to his left, and Saad firing a wrister past Raanta stick side and high into the net at 12:08.
Crawford called it the most exciting game for Chicago this season.
”It looked like we were flying out there for a team that took more than a week off, I mean we looked really fast. It was a quick game,” he said. ”You think you are going to have slow legs but that wasn’t the case.”
Chicago took a 2-0 lead when the Coyotes couldn’t clear the puck out of their end early in the second period, and Kane found Saad for a shot from in front of the net.
Crawford stopped Carl Soderberg’s shot from the side, but the rebound came out to Richardson, who put it in at 8:58 to cut the Blackhawks’ lead in half.
Richardson was back in action after four games out due to a lower body injury.
Crawford stopped Vinnie Hinostroza’s backhand after a breakaway at 13:04 of the second. The Coyotes tied it at 2 when Garland zipped past the Chicago defense and flipped a shot into the net on the fly at 18:20 of the period.
That gave Garland 17 goals, which leads the Coyotes. He’d earlier in the game taken a shot from a teammate off his lower leg and hobbled off the ice and to the dressing room, but returned and finished his 100th career NHL game.
NOTES: With D Oliver Ekman-Larsson out with a lower body injury suffered in Thursday night’s game, the Coyotes called up D Kyle Capobianco from AHL Tucson in time for Saturday’s game. . Chicago C Matthew Highmore was scratched, his first game missed since Jan. 7. . PGA Tour player Hudson Swafford has been competing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, wearing Coyotes gear. He wore a throwback Kachina pattern jersey on the course in nearby Scottsdale on Saturday, the same one the team wore Saturday night.
Chicago: At Minnesota Wild Tuesday night.
Arizona: Hosts Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night.
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