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Streaking Blackhawks, Coyotes battle in Chicago

(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the Western Conference's top teams will square off Thursday in the Windy City, as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Phoenix Coyotes in a showdown at the United Center.

The Blackhawks and Coyotes enter Thursday with 28 points apiece, tying them for second in the conference along with Colorado. Both Chicago and Phoenix have been playing terrific hockey of late, with the Blackhawks sporting a 6-0-1 record in their last seven games and the Coyotes posting a 7-1-0 mark during an eight-game stretch.

Chicago has won three straight to match its longest winning streak of the season. Joel Quenneville's club recorded a 5-4 win Sunday against Edmonton, giving the Blackhawks five or more goals in five of their last seven games.

Marcus Kruger and Duncan Keith scored less than two minutes apart in the third period to help the Blackhawks edge the visiting Oilers in a high-scoring affair. Bryan Bickell also scored in the final period for the defending Stanley Cup champions, while Corey Crawford recorded the win despite allowing four goals on just 23 shots.

"That's the kind of game that's kind of dangerous, when the away team hangs around," Crawford said. "That was a big win for us."

The Blackhawks also received goals from Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. Chicago has scored 32 goals over its last seven games and is currently second in the NHL with an average of 3.56 goals per contest.

Sunday's win pushed Chicago's home record this season to 7-1-3. After tonight's home tilt, the Blackhawks will close November by playing eight of nine on the road.

Although Chicago has won five of the past nine overall meetings against the Coyotes, Phoenix has recorded three straight victories at the United Center.

The Blackhawks won two of the three meetings during last year's lockout- shortened season, with Phoenix's lone win coming in a 3-2 shootout win in Chicago on April 20. Chicago beat the Coyotes by a combined 12-6 margin in the two road games in Arizona last season.

Phoenix has done most of its damage on home ice this season, going 8-0-1 in the desert and5-4-1 everywhere else. However, the Coyotes are coming off an impressive road win, as they downed St. Louis, 3-2, in overtime on Tuesday. It was just the third loss on home ice this season for the Blues, who were 7-1-1 at Scottrade Center heading into the game.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored 56 seconds into the extra session to lift the Coyotes past St. Louis. David Moss and Mikkel Boedker lit the lamp in regulation for the Coyotes, while Mike Smith made 37 saves to help steal two points in a game that saw Phoenix get outshot by a 39-19 margin.

"It was nice for me to play like that tonight and to bail the guys out," Smith said.

Smith, who has started 17 of 19 games for Phoenix this season, is 5-3-0 with a 2.77 goals against average in eight career games against the Blackhawks. Crawford is 3-1-2 with a 2.68 GAA in seven outings versus the Coyotes.

Coyotes forwards Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata are questionable for Thursday's game. Hanzal sat out Tuesday's game in St. Louis with an unspecified injury, while Vrbata has missed the last two tilts with a lower- body issue.

11/14 10:56:47 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal «4Final | Box
Tampa Bay1Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Detroit «1Final | Box
Boston0Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Dallas2Final | Box
Anaheim «3Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CHC 1
CIN 4
Final
PIT 3
MIL 5
Final
WAS 3
STL 1
Final
CLE 2
TOR 3
Final
DET 6
ANA 11
Final
NYM 0
ATL 6
Final
BOS 4
BAL 8
Final
TAM 11
NYY 5
Final
MIA 8
SEA 4
Final
TEX 12
CWS 0
Final
KAN 5
MIN 0
Final
COL 12
PHI 1
Final
OAK 11
HOU 3
Final
LOS 2
ARI 4
Final
SDP 2
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
12:30pm Today
TOR
BRK
3:30pm Today
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
TAM 1
MON 4
Final
BOS 0
DET 1
Final
ANA 3
DAL 2
3:00pm Today
STL
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR