Nick Cousins scored a power-play goal early in the third period and the Arizona Coyotes boosted their playoff chances Tuesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Darcy Kuemper made his 18th consecutive start and stopped 31 shots for his fourth shutout of the season. Arizona, which was 0-3-2 in its previous five games, most of those on a recent road trip, has won nine of 11 at home.
Corey Crawford had 27 saves for Chicago.
The Coyotes moved into a tie with Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card at 81 points — though Colorado has a game in hand. The Avalanche host Vegas on Wednesday before a critical head-to-head matchup with Arizona on Friday.
The Blackhawks, losers in three of four, were unable to gain ground on any of the four wild-card contenders in front of them in the standings. They remained at 76 points with six games left.
The first two periods were scoreless, and the second featured only 12 shots on goal. Chicago got a power-play chance at 11:55 of the second when Clayton Keller was whistled for interference, but Kuemper stopped shots by Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane to help the Coyotes kill the penalty.
Lawson Crouse’s stick work and hustle drew a penalty on the Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook for tripping at 4:35 of the third, and the Coyotes got the goal they needed from Cousins at 5:40.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was credited with the assist, passing to Cousins for a shot that Crawford saved before Cousins put in the rebound.
The Blackhawks had a few chances to draw even but couldn’t get the puck past Kuemper. One came from former Coyotes player Brendan Perlini with 9:35 to play, which Kuemper somehow turned away with a glove save.
Crouse drew a late penalty with 1:47 left to give Arizona a man advantage. Crawford was pulled for the final 63 seconds, but the Coyotes ran out the clock.
NOTES: The game featured several players from each side who were facing their former teams: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Richard Panik, Jordan Oesterle and Vinnie Hinostroza for Arizona, and Connor Murphy, Perlini and Dylan Strome for Chicago. … Hinostroza grabbed Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in a scuffle in front of the Chicago net early in the second period, but no penalties were called. … Mario Kempe, Conor Garland and Ilya Lyubushkin were healthy scratches for the Coyotes.
Chicago: At the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Arizona: At the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.