Blackhawks close out road trip with 4-2 win vs Blues; face Yotes on Monday

The Chicago Blackhawks (33-18-2/3rd Central) finished their long California road trip with two strong wins, one was versus the Winnipeg Jets, and the other was yesterday's 4-2 win over the Blues.

Yesterday in St. Louis, the Blackhawks opened up the scoring with Marcus Kruger. And while the Blues tied up the game twice, Marian Hossa put in the game-winning goal 11:19 into the third on the power play, and then for good measure, added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in the game. It was inevitable that Hossa's goal struggles would eventually end, so if he's going to get hot heading into the home stretch of games, that's good for the team.

Tonight, the Blackhawks aren't getting an opportunity to rest after the lengthy Western road trip. They host the Arizona Coyotes (19-27-7/6th Pacific) at home tonight - the same team they last played - and beat 6-1 - at home before heading out West.

According to the AZ Central newspaper, the Coyotes felt it was an incredibly lopsided loss, and said they "never felt like they had a chance" in the game. They've gone 3-2-2 since that loss, including another clunker loss, 7-2 vs the Sens. In every other game in that stretch, however, the Yotes have managed to let in 3 or less goals per game.

For a team that's let in 4 or more goals 24 times this season (including 7 games after 1/1), that's considered an improvement. The team hopes to build upon that improvement for the rest of the season. They understand that making the playoffs at this point would be an near-impossibility: they have just 45 points after 53 games (.424%). Arizona would have to play at a .844 win% to collect the 49 points they'd need to claw their way into the 8th wildcard spot.

Antti Raanta, who is career 14-0-2 with 1.50 GAA and .945 sv% at home, will get the start tonight versus Mike Smith (9-22-5, 3.30 GAA, .894 sv%).


Chicago - Kris Versteeg (hand), Trevor van Riemsdyk (leg). Versteeg is expected to return this week and TvR is reported as getting close.

Arizona - Mikkel Boedker, Martin Hanzal (upper body), Joe Vitale (upper body)


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Radio: Chicago WGN 720 AM; Arizona KMVP 98.7 FM