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Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks - Game 57 Preview

I suppose at this point of the season every game is a big game, but for the Chicago Blackhawks this could be a huge one. The defending Stanley Cup Champions visit the Coyotes tonight and they're currently in 11th place in the West. Getting into playoff position is certainly not out of reach, but a few more losses in the near futre and it could push it out of reach. Especially when playing a team like our Phoenix Coyotes who, while in the top eight, fluctuate so much in the standings with just one win or loss. The points are critical for both teams and they should play like it in front of what should be a close to sell out crowd. 

The Coyotes haven't played since Wednesday when they visited Dallas and were able to come away with two points on Radim Vrbata's game winner in overtime. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov had a strong game and the team as a whole played like they had last year. overcoming a late Dallas lead and not letting some bad breaks get to them. They could have packed it in after Dallas got a goal call on a puck that couldn't even be seen on the replays. Instead they kept playing the defensive and forechecking style they thrive with and came away with a win they wouldn't have earlier in this season. 

The Blackhawks' last game was likewise against the Stars. Last night though, the script was flipped on the Hawks. With a 3-0 lead midway through the game they watched that lead evaporate and eventually got beaten in the shootout. While Marty Turco wasn't strong in the talent contest, allowing all three shooters to score, the game itself wasn't on him. The defensive play that was there early just seemed to collapse and with it the game. The question they'll have to answer tonight is are they mentally strong enough to move past that and play a game or will they fold up? Either way the Coyotes have to attack the Hawks defense early and really go after them with the forecheck. 

Starting Goalies

2010 - Ilya Bryzgalov 44 2591 22 14 112 2.59 1346 1234 .917 5

2010 - Corey Crawford 30 1765 17 11 63 2.14 794 731 .921 2


Key Players

Mikkel Boedker

#89 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Dec 16, 1989

He may have only scored his first goal of the year last game, but the way he did it shows why Boedker should be seeing more time in the future. Coast-to-coast with a quick pass to Whitney and right to the open side of the net for a one timer. He's got great wheels and hopefully his play from Wednesday keeps him in the lineup.

Patrick Sharp

#10 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks



Dec 27, 1981

He's leading the Blackhawks in goals with 28 and he, along with Towes and Kane are pretty much carrying the Hawks right now. 


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ed Jovanovski other-excused 02/12/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Schlemko head 01/18/2011

Chicago Blackhawks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
John Scott other-excused 02/12/2011
Fernando Pisani other-excused 02/12/2011
Marian Hossa other-excused 02/12/2011
Viktor Stalberg shoulder 02/12/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ryan Johnson other-excused 02/12/2011