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Dead and Buried in the Desert: Coyotes 4, Blackhawks 1

The first game in the post-Patrick Kane era (or The Kane Salary Retention Bowl if you will) was a major dud.

Chicago Blackhawks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 at Mullet Arena on Tuesday night.

Given the major events of the day for the Blackhawks, it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t weighing on the team, as they didn’t put up much of a fight.

Arizona came out buzzing and scored the opening goal halfway through the first period when Travis Boyd drove the lane and did the old skate right/shoot left move. The puck glanced off Ian Mitchell’s stick just enough to fool Alex Stalock and knuckle past his glove.

With just over a minute remaining in the first, Nick Schmaltz turned and fired a nothing shot from the point that Barrett Hayton was able to get a (high?) stick on to tip it down through Stalock’s legs. The goal was briefly reviewed but ultimately deemed good.

Not much was cooking in the second period until 15 minutes in. Immediately after a Stalock vet move when he “accidentally” knocked the net off — and got a Nick Ritchie ass on his head for his trouble — there was a scrum in front of the net in which Stalock made a flurry of kick saves. A Troy Stetcher centering pass was hacked at by Jack McBain and it ricocheted high into the air then found its way into the back of the net.

Nine minutes into the third, Arizona’s first line broke through again. After a big save by Stalock, Clayton Keller skated out from behind the net with speed and sent a cross-ice feed to Nick Schmaltz for a backdoor one-timer.

With just over a minute remaining, an Isaak Phillips keep-in of the puck in the offensive zone led to an Andreas Athanasiou garbage-time goal that ended Arizona goaltender Karel Vejmelka’s shutout bid.

Too late and not enough. Game over, man. Game over.


  • The Blackhawks are now 1-9-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.
  • So this was definitely a lineup.
  • Nice to see Ian Mitchell (that stat card though) and Isaak Phillips both get into the same game, even if it was mostly out of necessity due to travel and depleted forward corps.
  • Arizona’s first three goals were all kind of weird/fluky ones, but they had an obvious game plan and they followed it well. Alex Stalock hadn’t started a game in six weeks so the Coyotes came out firing.
  • In the first two games against each other this season — both Hawks wins — the Blackhawks outshot the Coyotes 76-48. Arizona outshot the Hawks 31-21 tonight.
  • Possession numbers were basically even. The big board says that the Hawks had seven high-danger scoring chances but I couldn’t tell you a single one of them.
  • Consider Nick Schmaltz to be another former Blackhawk on a heater — he’s scored goals in four straight games now and has 11 goals in his last 14 games.
  • Alex Stalock is back and healthy — which rules. He didn’t have the most triumphant of returns but he’s still one of the most entertaining players in the NHL. And we’re definitely going to need some levity to get through the rest of this season.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Nick Schmaltz - 1 goal, 1 assist
  2. Clayton Keller - 2 assists
  3. Karel Vejmelka - 23 saves, .958 save percentage

What’s next

The Blackhawks return to the United Center to take on the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night.