Dylan Strome will play for the first time in almost a month when the Blackhawks return to action from their 11-day absence with the NHL All-Star weekend and bye week Saturday against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Strome missed the past seven games with a right ankle injury he sustained Jan. 7 against Calgary in Chicago. It was the second injury to sidelined him this season as he missed four games in early November and early December with a concussion. He has 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games this season.
Chicago (24-21-6) had its five-game win streak end in its final game before the break with a 4-3 loss to the Panthers. Kirby Dach had a goal and an assist on his 19th birthday and Erik Gustafsson had two assists. Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 11 games with a third-period goal. He has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) during his point streak, which is the longest active one in the NHL.
The Blackhawks’ top line of Dominik Kubalik, Jonathan Toews and Drake Caggiula are also putting up points in bunches. Kubalik has 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in his past 10 games, Toews has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past seven and Caggiula has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four.
Corey Crawford will seek his third straight win when he starts against Arizona. Crawford has dropped two of his past three games against the Coyotes after winning seven straight.
The Coyotes (26-21-6) are in their worst slump of the season, going winless in four straight games (0-3-1) and 1-5-2 in their past eight. Arizona lost both games of a back-to-back since returning from its break with a 4-2 loss Wednesday at Anaheim and a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings, who had all three goals come from Alex Iafallo, including the game winner 24 seconds into overtime.
Defenseman and team captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson could miss the game Saturday after a knee-to-knee collision that kept him out of the third period Thursday.
Former Blackhawk Nick Schmaltz leads the Coyotes in points (38) and assists (30), while Conor Garland paces the team in goals (16) and is one of Arizona’s seven double-digit goal scorers. Schmaltz has scored a team-high 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) at home this season.
Taylor Hall, who was acquired from New Jersey four days after Arizona and Chicago played their second of two games against each other in December, is heating up with eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six games. He five points (two goals, three assists) during his past three games against Chicago.
Chicago is on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, sitting four points back of Arizona for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks are also a point back of Nashville — who is also out of the playoff picture — and six points away from Dallas for third place in the Central Division.
The Coyotes are two points off the Flames for third in the Pacific Division.
The Blackhawks are winless in three straight and five of their past six (0-4-1) games against the Coyotes after winning nine in a row. Chicago dropped both games in December to Arizona, losing 4-3 in a shootout at home then four days later falling 5-2.
Tale of the Tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Coyotes
48.2% (23nd) — Corsi For — 47.9% (25th)
3.00 (18th) — Goals per game — 2.74 (23rd)
3.08 (t-15th) — Goals against per game — 2.68 (26th)
15.6% (27th) — Power play — 19.8% (t-16th)
82.8% (7th) — Penalty kill — 81.8% (t-11th)
Kubalik — Toews — Caggiula
Saad — Dach — Kane
DeBrincat — Kampf — Strome
Nylander — Carpenter — Smith
Keith — Boqvist
Gustafsson — Murphy
Maatta — Koekkoek
Hall — Dvorak — Garland
Keller — Stepan — Kessel
Crouse — Schmaltz — Hinostroza
Grabner — Soderberg — Fischer
Ekman-Larsson — Hjalmarsson
Goligoski — Demers
Chychrun — Lyubushkin
How to watch
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Gila River Arena; Glendale, Arizona
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV