Game Preview : Hello Again My Old Friend

Christian Petersen

Chicago Blackhawks (18 pts 8-0-2) @ Phoenix Coyotes (10 pts 4-4-2), 8 pm Jobing.com Arena – Glendale, AZ, TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WGN 720 AM

Season Series:
1/21 @ PHX W 6-4

The Blackhawks will try and remain undefeated within 60 minutes tonight as they make their second trip to the desert to take on the former Jets/current Coyotes/future Nordiques. Tonight is the Hawks 11th game of the season and they will now have played just as many games at the Jobing.com Arena as they have at the United Center. They are entering the home stretch of this brutal start to the season but there is just one more road game after tonight, Sunday in Nashville, before coming home for seven straight games. I have already said all I am going say on the Raffi Torres situation, so I will not repeat myself. The Blackhawks need more production out of their power play unit. After starting off the season hot, the power play unit has only scored once in its last 19 tries. They are starting to resemble the hot mess from last season. They need to create more movement from side to side and get the penalty killer's feet moving. That is how you create confusion and holes in the defense. I don't see any reason why Corey Crawford would not get the start in net tonight. Ray Emery got the start and the win in the first meeting of the year.

The Coyotes are not the same team we saw back on January 21st. They are starting to look more and more like the team that made the Western Conference Finals a year ago. They have won back to back games for the first time all season with a 2-0 win over the Stars and a 2-1 victory against the Wild. Goalie Mike Smith has been Jekyll & Hyde this season but he has been very good since returning from an injury that caused him to miss four games. In those three starts Smith has only given up just four goals on 63 shots, which is a .937 save percentage. It is going to be a lot harder to put up six goals on him tonight than it was a couple of weeks ago. The Coyotes defensive core has been improving as well and will look a lot more like they did in last year's playoff series. Tonight is going to be a bigger challenge for the Hawks than the first meeting was. They need to play a smart and disciplined game and they should be just fine. Some production from the 2nd line would help too. Patrick Sharp, I'm looking at you!

Probable Chicago Blackhawks lineup:

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik


Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Sheldon Brookbank - Nick Leddy

Goaltender

Corey Crawford 6-0-2, 1.82 GAA, .930 save %, 0 SO

Injuries

Michal Rozsival (knee) questionable, Daniel Carcillo (knee) OUT

Leading Scorers:

P. Kane 15 pts (6 G. 9 A)

M. Hossa 10 pts (6 G, 4 A)

J. Toews 9 pts (4 G, 5 A)

P. Sharp 8 pts (2 G, 6 A)

N. Leddy 5 pts (1 G, 4 A)

Phoenix Coyotes Probable Lineup:

Forwards

Steve Sullivan - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Nick Johnson

Defensive Pairings

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Michael Stone - David Schlemko

Goaltender

Mike Smith 2-2-1, 2.67 GAA, .887 save %, 1 SO

Injuries

Matt Lombardi (upper body) OUT, David Schlemko (shoulder) OUT

Leading Scorers:

R. Vrbata 10 pts (3 G, 7 A)

M. Boedker 7 pts (2 G, 5 A)

O. Ekman-Larsson 7 pts (2 G, 5 A)

L. Korpikoski 6 pts (4 G, 2 A)

M. Hanzal 6 pts (4 G, 2 A)

Stats
10 GP 10
8 W 4
0 L 4
2 OT 2
18 P 10
0.900 P% 0.500
3.20 G/G 2.90
2.10 GA/G 2.60
18.4 PP% 21.4
94.9 PK% 82.4
28.2 S/G 33.4
29.0 SA/G 25.4
50.1 FO% 51.0
courtesy of NHL.com

Chicago Blackhawks Tickets

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