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Blackhawks vs. Coyotes preview: Raanta expected to start against lowly Arizona

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Blackhawks return to the United Center after a near three week absence.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks kick off an eight-game homestand with a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night at the United Center.

Chicago won consecutive games against Central Division foes, Winnipeg and St. Louis, on the road for a 4-3-0 mark over their seven-game road trip. The Blackhawks' 4-3 win over the Blues on Sunday pulled them within four points of second-place in the Central and eight back of first-place Nashville.

Marian Hossa scored twice in the third to break a five-game scoreless streak. Marcus Kruger and Bryan Bickell also found the back of the net while Corey Crawford made 25 saves in the win.

The Blackhawks improved to 16-7-1 at home with a 6-1 win over Arizona on Jan. 20 in their last game at the Madhouse on Madison. Andrew Shaw potted two goals, while Patrick Kane scored once and had a pair of helpers. Antti Raanta made 35 saves for the win.

Raanta is expected to make the start as he has won both match ups against the Coyotes in his career. The 25-year-old is 14-02 at the United Center, with a 1.50 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.

Opponent Breakdown: Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes look to avoid a third straight loss after falling 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with less than two minutes in regulation to avoid the shutout. It was 16th goal this season, including nine on the power play; both of which rank the most among league defensemen.

Mike Smith stopped 25 shots as the Coyotes fell 3-7-3 over their last 13. The Coyotes' 45 points only trails the Oilers for fewest in the Western Conference.

Keith Yandle leads the Coyotes' offense with 38 points and leads the league defenseman with 34 assists. Yandle shares the second spot in the league for power-play points (2G, 22A) and is currently on a six-game point streak with eight assists.

Smith is 6-5-1 with a 3.01 GAA, .914 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 games against the Blackhawks.

Injury Report

ChicagoKris Versteeg (hand) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (knee)

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

Game Information

When: 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center

TV: NBCSN, CSN

Radio: WGN-720

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