CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Blackhawks staggered home last week in desperate need of some positive results.
Enter goalie Corey Crawford – and a perfectly timed homestand against three of the worst teams in the NHL.
Crawford made 31 saves, Artem Anisimov scored the go-ahead goal with 4:47 left in the third period and the Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Sunday night.
Tommy Wingels and Nick Schmaltz also scored in the third as Chicago (14-11-5) earned its second straight win after dropping five in a row. Patrick Kane had two assists to run his career total to 781 points, breaking a tie with Doug Wilson for fifth on the franchise scoring list.
”We could probably play a little bit better, but we found ways to win even when we probably haven’t had our best,” Kane said. ”Whether that’s goaltending or timely goals by the fourth line and Wingels, just finding ways to win, it’s huge points for us right now.”
Crawford was activated from injured reserve on Friday and stopped 26 shots in a 3-2 overtime win against Buffalo. He likely will start again when the Blackhawks host lowly Florida on Tuesday night.
”We had a lot of chances throughout the whole game,” Crawford said. ”The third was our best period. It was another good win for us at home, something to build off of and keep going with this.”
Kane found an open Anisimov in the right circle for the center’s team-high 13th goal , giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. The connection occurred just 71 seconds after Anthony Duclair tied it at 1 with his seventh goal for Arizona, tipping home Alex Goligoski’s pass in front.
Kane then set up Schmaltz with a slick pass for a one-timer with 3:02 left. It was Schmaltz’s first goal since Nov. 27 and No. 5 on the season.
”We’ve got to learn to play under pressure,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. ”They got that goal there to go ahead and we got it back with five minutes left under pressure. A couple of giveaways, people sinking and you’ve got to play under pressure in this league. It’s a hard league.”
Scott Wedgewood made 34 saves for Arizona, which dropped its fourth straight game.
”We were good for the first 50 (minutes),” Goligoski said. ”Got good goaltending again. It was disappointing not to finish that out early and push it to overtime.”
Wedgewood and Crawford were locked in a scoreless duel when John Hayden made a nice pass to set up Wingels’ one-timer 7:36 into the third period. Wingels also scored a tying short-handed goal in the third during Chicago’s overtime win Friday night.
”You get an opportunity in the third period to make a difference, every shift, whether it’s create energy, drawing a penalty or scoring a big goal,” Wingels said. ”Recently, our line’s been able to do that.”
The Coyotes (7-21-5) were coming off a 1-0 loss at Columbus on Saturday night, but they skated right with the Blackhawks for most of the game.
Goligoski rattled the cage behind Crawford on a power-play shot in the second period. Kevin Connauton had an open backhander stopped by Crawford with about eight minutes left in the second.
NOTES: Blackhawks D Cody Franson was scratched with an upper-body injury. D Jordan Oesterle made his first appearance since Nov. 12 and picked up an assist on Wingels’ goal. ”I thought he had a great game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. … F Christian Fischer played in his native Chicago for the first time in the NHL. The 20-year-old Fischer made his debut with the Coyotes last January. … Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Hartman was whistled for three penalties in a 6-2 loss at Washington last Wednesday, including a double minor for high-sticking in the second period. … Arizona scratched C Nick Cousins, D Kyle Capobianco and G Michael Leighton.
Coyotes: Begin a five-game homestand Thursday night against Tampa Bay.
Blackhawks: Host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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