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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, November 30th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Blackhawks (19-4-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (15-6-4), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes look to win two straight for just the second time in three weeks as they battle the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

The Coyotes are looking for consecutive victories for the first time since Nov. 9 and 12, having gone 2-2-2 in six games since. That span includes a 5-4 shootout loss to the hosting Blackhawks on Nov. 14.

Phoenix ended an 0-2-1 skid with Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Radim Vrbata scored twice and Mikkel Boedker also had a goal.

Derek Morris posted two assists and Shane Doan also helped set up a goal despite having left Monday's loss in Nashville with a lower-body injury. Backup Thomas Greiss made 28 saves.

"We lost three in a row and if you let it slide, you will be behind. We wanted to make sure we got those two points tonight," said Vrbata on the win.

Greiss was making his sixth appearance of the season and has won all three of his starts backing up Mike Smith, who should get the start tonight. Phoenix is off following this contest until starting a four-game road trip on Tuesday.

Smith saw plenty of rubber in the shootout loss to the Blackhawks earlier this month, making 48 saves on 52 shots faced. He was beaten twice in the four- round shootout however, falling to 5-3-1 with a 2.89 goals against average in his career versus the 'Hawks.

Chicago got 26 saves from Corey Crawford and he stopped another three of four skaters faced in the shootout. Brandon Pirri had the deciding tally in the tiebreaker after scoring three minutes into the third period to tie the game.

The Blackhawks are 3-0-1 in their past four versus the Coyotes and have won four of their last five in Phoenix.

Chicago closes out a seven-game road trip tonight and has won the past five games of the swing after opening it up with a loss in Colorado on Nov. 19.

The 'Hawks have made it a habit of rallying during this trip and did so again in last night's 2-1 shootout win over Dallas, getting a third-period goal from Patrick Sharp before outlasting the Stars in an 11-round tiebreaker.

Ben Smith finally ended things when he blasted a wrister over the club of Dallas' Kari Lehtonen.

"I've never been that deep before, but it was entertaining. The goalies were outstanding," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

Crawford registered 28 saves for the Blackhawks and stopped 10 of the 11 skaters he faced in the shootout.

The Chicago netminder is 4-1-2 with a 2.83 GAA in his career versus the Coyotes.

11/30 10:36:41 ET