GLENDALE, Ariz. – Chris Campoli picked a perfect time to score his first goal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Campoli scored a power-play goal with 6:34 remaining and the Blackhawks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Sunday night to strengthen their position in the Western Conference playoff race.
Campoli, acquired from Ottawa on Feb. 28, took a cross-crease pass from Jonathan Toews and put a shot into the vacated left side of the net before goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, covering the right side, could recover.
“It was a slow motion kind of play,” Toews said. “All he had to do was get good wood on it and he made no mistakes.”
Duncan Keith also scored for Chicago (39-25-8), who moved into fifth place in the conference with 86 points.
Campoli, who had three goals for the Senators before the trade, said he understood the importance of finally scoring for his new team.
“It was an important goal at an important time of the game,” Campoli said. “It’s a play we work backdoor. Taser (Toews) saw me going and made a great pass.”
Campoli’s goal came with 14 seconds left in a hooking penalty to Coyotes captain Shane Doan, one of just three penalties in the game.
“I’ve watched it about 20 times,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “Just finished watching it just as I walked in the door here. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand it at all. To me there’s no hold whatsoever there. It’s disappointing that a call can have an impact like that in a very competitive game in a very tight playoff race.”
Eric Belanger scored for the Coyotes (39-24-11), whose five-game winning streak was snapped. Phoenix, fourth in the West with 89 points, hadn’t lost in regulation since March 3 (6-0-1).
“We’ve got to win,” Doan said. “That’s all it comes down to. I don’t care what happens in the game, we have to find ways to win.”
Keith gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the first period. He fired the puck between Bryzgalov’s pads from the centre of the left circle.
Belanger tied it at 18:43 of the second when his blast from the top of the right circle bounced off Nick Leddy’s skate and past partially screened goalie Corey Crawford.
Crawford made 22 saves, including a point-blank stop on Adrian Aucoin on a near-breakaway attempt.
“He made two of his biggest saves of the year in the critical late moments of the game,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Notes: Nashville also has 86 points but with one less win than Chicago. Blackhawks LW Patrick Sharp left the game with 1:35 to go in the first period after a knee-on-knee collision with Coyotes D Rostislav Klesla. Toews has a point in 19 of 23 games. The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 17,328. Aucoin played in his 1,000th NHL game.