Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks - Game #72 Preview

Who would have thought tonight's game between the Coyotes and Blackhawks was going to be as big as it is at the beginning of the season? Heck, a couple months ago or even a week ago? The Coyotes have been playing so well that they've not only put some room between themselves and the Avalanche and Kings, but now we're hunting down the Sharks for the Pacific and the Hawks for the Western Conference! The NHL knows what's up too apparently as they've put or game on NHL network after the Leafs Habs is over. Then they're having a free preview of the Network for all Cox, DirecTV, Dish and pretty much every other provider. In all our game is going to be in a lot of homes for free. Hopefully we put on a nice big show for them.

The Blackhawks are coming into this one more than a little beat up. With Brian Campbell done for the regular season with a broken rib and clavacle, Kim Johnsson is day to day with an upper body injury, Cristobal Huet is out with the flu and of course Brent Seabrook is battling his concussion after the hit from James Wisneiwski earlier this week. Seabrook did resume practice though on Friday and the Chicago coaching staff was going to decide today if he would play or not. No word yet. on if he's ready or not. Either way the Hawks blueline is pretty beat up. It's something we need to try and jump on early especially with the lower pairings and us getting last change. The Blackhawks last played the Kings on Thursday with all those players out and blanked LA 3-0. 

The Coyotes are pretty much the opposite. The roster is full and other than Kurt Sauer and Scottie Upshall who are done for the year, the Coyotes have been pretty healthy *knock on wood. While the successful 4-0-0 roadtrip wasn't the prettiest, we found ways to win each game. That Florida was was really quite exciting. Though hopefully we don't play around tonight and go for the jugular right of the bat instead of napping for two periods. 

Starting Goaltenders


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Ilya Bryzgalov 61 3587 38 18 135 2.26 1720 1585 .922 8

Duh. Of course Bryz starts in the big game. He needs to pad his stats :) Seriously though if the Coyotes manage to climb to the top of the West and everyone is still only talking Ryan Miller for Vezina i'll punch them in the friggin face.


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Antti Niemi 27 1516 19 5 56 2.22 627 571 .911 5

In in place of Huet Niemi has been more than solid this year. 19-5 is nothing to scoff at, neither are his 5 shutouts and GAA of 2.22. Just because he's usually playing a backup role doesn't men we should sell him short by any means. He'll be tough to beat.

KEY PLAYERS


Lee "Desert Ninja" Stempniak

#22 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-0

195

Feb 04, 1983


Still getting a goal a game and 9 points over his last 7. Still the Key player because I'm superstitious. 


Dustin Byfuglien

#33 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks

6-4

257

Mar 27, 1985


He's switching back and forth from wing to defense and if Seabrook is out he'll be on the blueline. He's looked alright, but his pairing will be the one to attack.

THE INFIRMARY


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Robert Lang other-excused 03/20/2010

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kurt Sauer head 10/07/2009
Scottie Upshall knee 01/29/2010


Chicago Blackhawks Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cristobal Huet other-excused 03/20/2010

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brent Seabrook head 03/20/2010

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kim Johnsson other-excused 03/20/2010
Brian Campbell collarbone 03/15/2010
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