Keller scores twice, 1st-place Coyotes beat Blackhawks 5-2
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Clayton Keller scored twice and the Pacific Division-leading Arizona Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Thursday night.
Vinnie Hinostroza, playing against his former team, assisted on all three of Arizona’s first-period goals to match his career high for points in a game. He became the first Coyotes player in more than a year to have three assists in a single period.
Michael Grabner and ex-Blackhawk Nick Schmaltz each added a goal for the Coyotes. Christian Dvorak had two assists and Brad Richardson scored his first goal of the season to go with an assist during Arizona’s fourth victory in six games.
Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, the Coyotes’ top draft pick in 2015, scored for the Blackhawks, who lost their third straight.
The Coyotes had lost four of their past five home games. But they beat Chicago for the second time in five days and have won five of the last six meetings overall.
Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves for the Coyotes. Robin Lehner stopped 35 shots for the Blackhawks.
Arizona got off to a flying start with two goals on its first four shots. Richardson fed Grabner with a long pass between the blue lines, and he sped past a defender to get enough space for a backhand that found the net just 2:56 into the game.
Speed and a long pass were the difference again on the second goal, at 5:03 of the first. Jordan Oesterle sent a pass out of his own zone up the ice that Hinostroza deflected to Keller on a rush. Keller scored and crashed hard into the boards after his sixth of the season.
Richardson got his first goal at 15:04. He knocked down an elevated shot from Jakob Chychrun in front of the net, and it slid between Lehner’s legs for a 3-0 lead.
Toews put in the rebound of Dominik Kubalik’s shot at 6:02 of the second period to make it 3-1. Schmaltz answered at 8:25, taking the puck off a draw, maneuvering it away from Patrick Kane and firing it into the net.
Strome scored on a power play in the third, then Keller lifted a backhand high into the net with 2:07 to play.
NOTES: Chicago placed D Calvin de Haan on injured reserve with a right shoulder injury. De Haan, who had offseason surgery on that shoulder, was injured during Tuesday night's 5-1 loss at Vegas. D Olli Maatta returned after missing the past four games with an illness. Coyotes C Barrett Hayton was scratched, but the team said the 19-year-old will be loaned to Team Canada for the 2020 World Junior Championship from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2020, in the Czech Republic.
Blackhawks: At the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Coyotes: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
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