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Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks - Game # 58 Preview

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The Coyotes got a few days off between their last game against the Predators and tonight's game against the evil Blackhawks. Coach Dave Tippet wasn't sure that was such a good thing with how the team has been playing, especially as they've extended the winning streak they're on while on the road, which has not been the strong suit of the team this year. While the Coyotes have stayed just above .500 on the road for the majority of the year they're now 13-10-3 which is a bit of an improvement. This meeting will only be the second of the year between the two teams, with the Coyotes winning the earlier matchup 3-1. Hopefully with how well we're playing this year that means we won't be trashed by them in Chicago like we were last season. It seemed like everytime we played, no matter how well we were doing we'd go to Chicago and get massacred. At least Kris Versteeg doesn't have any tiny rookie centers to try and fight this time.

Chicago has been up and down lately, though they're still in the lead in the Central division. They have however, lost 4 of the last seven games and are 6-4-0 over the last ten. Patrick Kane has been big lately with 9 points in 9 games. According to the SBNation Hawks site Second City Hockey, defense is the biggest issue at the moment.

Of bigger concern is the defensive zone coverage, particularly from the Olympic duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Perhaps the increased workload and compressed schedule have caught up to them, but their decision making in their own end has been severely out of character for both. Whatever is causing it, it needs to be corrected in short order, as no goalie can be asked to make every save with some of the quality chances that they've yielded.

-From today's Preview of the game

Starting Goaltenders:


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Jason LaBarbera 11 589 4 4 24 2.44 289 265 .917 0

Last time we saw Jason LaBarbera was against the Rangers on January 30th. LaBarbera got the win 3-2 over the Rangers, even though the Rangers tried to come back scoring both of the goals in the 3rd. Part of the problem was that while the team in front of him was confident, the started making mistakes late in the game with the lead allowing odd man breaks that LaBarbera just got beat on. Confidence in your goaltender is good, but don't get too comfortable.


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Cristobal Huet 41 2367 24 11 92 2.33 935 843 .902 4

Huet has lost his last two starts against the Carolina Hurricanes and the St. Louis Blues. While they haven't been blowouts it's certainly never a confidence booster when you're losing to the worst team in hockey at the moment in the Canes and one that's 5 points back of the playoffs in the West. If his defense keeps doing the work they have been it could be a long night for him.

Key Players


Shane Doan

#19 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

224

Oct 10, 1976


If this were NBA Jam, Shane Doan would be heating up. Although last year he was hot for the whole season, this is his usual MO. Start the season getting a point here and there and then in the 2nd half turn the offense up to 11 and go crazy go nuts. Points in the first three months of the season? 26. Points in January? 17.


Jonathan Toews

#19 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks

6-2

210

Apr 29, 1988


Has nine points in his last nine games. Fun Fact: Towes, much like Sidney Crosby, cannot grow a playoff beard. He can only grow playoff muttonchops.

The Infirmary


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

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

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Antti Niemi other-illness 02/05/2010

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Adam Burish knee 09/22/2009