The Coyotes will attempt to keep one thing that hasn't happened since February of 2009 from happening this season. That's losing 3 straight road games. After dropping ugly games to Tampa Bay and Columbus the Coyotes will have to have a strong game against the surging Chicago Blackhawks who have clawed they're way back into the group of teams on the edge of the playoffs. A couple weeks ago it seemed a foregone conclusion that they would be out but as with everything else in the Western Conference lately a few games in the win column brought them back. Patrick Sharp has been a big contributor and Corey Crawford has had some impressive games lately including shutting out Nashville on Thursday. Coyotes.com notes that over the past 5 games he's 5-1-1 with an impressive 1.82 GAA over those games.
The Coyotes will have to get back to playing the defense that put them on their 8 game winning streak just a few weeks ago. That's been difficult with Ed Jovanovski out, but the Coyotes could see Adrian Aucoin return tonight as they sent defenseman Nolan Yonkman back to San Antonio yesterday. That would make room for Aucoin to play again and he did skate the other day, but it could have also been because of some critical errors Yonkman made in the Columbus game. Ray Whitney is also reportedly close to coming back as he had a good skate along with Aucoin, but no official word on either guy. One player we know is returning is Scottie Upshall. as his two game suspension for the hit on Oskars Bartulis is up. I'm not sure he sovles all the Coyotes issues, but the two games he's been out the Coyotes eat it. Coincidence? Probably, but hey if the Coyotes come away with the W tonight he's never allowed to not play again. Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to get the start again tonight.
|2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov||50||2957||27||15||128||2.60||1551||1423||.917||5|
|2010 - Corey Crawford||36||2133||21||12||75||2.11||980||905||.923||3|
Boeds was one of the few guys that actually had his head in the game against the Blue Jackets on Friday. He setup two of the three goals and has been earning his ice time lately. The only way he doesn't play is if Ray Whitney is ready to go, and even then he should be in based on his play of late.
With 7 points in the past 4 games he's helped power the Blackhawks to within striking distance of the playoffs again.