CHICAGO -- With a seven-game road-trip starting next week, the Chicago Blackhawks wanted to make sure they gave their fans something to remember them by in their absence Thursday night at the United Center.
And it was rookie center Brandon Pirri who will be most remembered, as it was his goal in the shootout that was the game-winner as the Blackhawks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4.
It was Pirri's night in more ways than one. He started on the opening front line, scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then the game-winner for Chicago's first win at home against the Coyotes since a 4-3 shootout win Feb. 27, 2011.
Team captain and center Jonathan Toews also scored in the shootout for Chicago, while only right winger Radim Vrbata was able to tally for Phoenix.
The Blackhawks (13-2-4) have now won their last four games and six of their last seven. Phoenix (13-4-3) saw its two-game winning streak end, but the Coyotes are still 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and winners in nine of their last 12.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was outstanding in the first three periods, stopping 45 of 49, plus three of four in the shootout.
His Coyotes counterpart Mike Smith stopped 26 of Chicago's 30 regulation shots. Smith is 10-1-3 in his last 14 starts.
The Blackhawks wasted precious little time in taking the lead on left winger Brandon Saad's goal (No. 5) at 2:37 of first period.
Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone barely had a chance to take a seat in the penalty box to serve a two-minute penalty for cross-checking when the Blackhawks scored again. Right winger Patrick Sharp, who has been on a hot streak of late, scored (No. 5) on the power play to put Chicago ahead 2-0 at 6:22. It was Sharp's 49th power-play goal of his NHL career.
Blackhawks fans barely had a chance to revel in the euphoria before Phoenix got on the scoreboard at 7:03 on Stone's goal (No. 4) to make it 2-1.
It became a brand new game at 5:56 of the opening period when Phoenix tied the score on right winger and team captain Shane Doan's power-play goal (No. 9).
Chicago regained the lead at 5:05 of the second period on right wing Marian Hossa's (No. 9) quick wrist shot past Smith.
But the Coyotes came right back with a pair of goals in short order. First, left winger Lauri Korpikowski (No. 3) scored at 14:55, and then Stone scored his second goal of the game (No. 5) to put Phoenix back ahead 4-3 at 17:06.
Chicago proved just as determined, however. The Blackhawks tied it at exactly 3:00 into the third period on Pirri's fourth goal of the season.
NOTES: Attendance was 21,762. ... The Blackhawks announced before the game that they placed F Michal Handzus on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, retroactive to Oct. 25. To replace Handzus on the roster, Chicago called up F Alex Broadhurst from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. A native of the Chicago suburb of New Lenox, Ill., Broadhurst, 20, has 11 points (4-7) in 16 games during his first professional season in Rockford. ... The Blackhawks play at Nashville on Saturday, back home Sunday against the San Jose Sharks and then embark on a seven-game road trip against Western Conference teams. They don't return home until Dec. 3 for a game against Minnesota. ... The Coyotes play their next three and four of their next six games at home. ... Amazing stat: Coming into the game, the Coyotes were 8-0-0 this season and 84-6-9 under coach Dave Tippett when leading after the first period.