Matt Layman – http://arizonasports.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a game between the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, the team with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Richard Panik beat the team with Connor Murphy and Anthony Duclair.
Indeed, a lot has changed in a year, especially for the ‘Hawks, who fell 6-1 to the Coyotes (some of whom are their ex-teammates) at Gila River Arena on Monday and remain at the bottom of the Central Division.
It ended a stretch of nine straight meetings in which the Coyotes lost to Chicago.
“Winning is fun. It was a lot of fun out there,” forward Max Domi said. “We didn’t have a single passenger. Everyone was contributing, everyone wanted to be a part of it. No one let up. When you have a lead on a team like that, it’s crucial to stay on them, and we did.”
The Coyotes capitalized on their chance to face Chicago, which is missing its starting goalie Corey Crawford due to injury and is in last place in the Central Division. Domi ended a 20-game goal drought and rookie Clayton Keller scored what was just his second goal in 15 games and seventh since the start of November. It was also the first time this season the Coyotes scored six goals in a game.
In the process, Antti Raanta made 37 saves.
“Sometimes you’re a little bit lucky and you can make the saves,” Raanta said of his former team. “Playing a couple years [there], you kind of have a little bit of a taste of what they can do. But it’s a big challenge also.
“Maybe we weren’t that defense-minded plays, but who cares when you get six goals? You need to be happy about that also.”
Arizona got on the board first when Jakob Chychrun took a shot from the point that was deflected in by Domi. The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead at 1:32.
It was Domi’s first goal since Dec. 16 against the Penguins, ending a stretch of 20 games without a tally.
“I was pretty fired up,” Domi said. “It’s been a while.”
Minutes later, Keller doubled Arizona’s lead when he slapped in a rebound goal on a shot taken by Derek Stepan. It was 2-0 at 9:22.
Chicago would cut their deficit in half at 4:33 in the second when Alex Debrincat took a wrist shot that went by Raanta on the power play.
But soon thereafter, Arizona would not only increase its lead to 3-1, but they prompted Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville to replace goalie Anton Forsberg with Jeff Glass. Forsberg’s night finished after he allowed three goals on 13 shots.
The goal was at a sharp angle from defenseman Alex Goligoski at 7:06 in the second.
But even after Glass took over the duties in the crease, Tobias Rieder scored a power play goal on the rebound to make it 4-1 at 9:33.
Arizona would score two more goals in the third, first a deflection by Nick Cousins for his 10th goal of the season at 7:11. Before this year, Cousins had just 12 career goals in 107 NHL games over three seasons.
Then, at 15:38, Christian Dvorak scored on the breakaway to make it 6-1.
“I just like to see some guys scoring,” head coach Rick Tocchet said. “It’s nice. Hopefully it gets some confidence and loosens some people up.”