The Arizona Coyotes are on a hot streak and are coming off of a convincing win against the Anaheim Ducks. Now that Anthony DeAngelo has been called up after the trade of Michael Stone to Calgary, can they get their power play clicking again?
Can they finally beat the Chicago Blackhawks, who seem the be the boogie man in their closet for the last few years?
View from Arizona
The Coyotes are finally finding their groove, it only took 45 games for them to do it. The young players are playing like they are not scared or star-struck any longer.
With Mike Smith being pulled from the game on Monday, many people were concerned about a concussion, but Smith is fine and will play tonight. He was very upset that he was pulled by a concussion spotter, but with how he was hit, I’m not surprised he was pulled.
If the Coyotes can continue to pick up points here and there, they will get closer to the 28th place team and farther away from the 30th placed Colorado Avalanche. This may harm them in the long run draft lottery wise, but it will make for happier fans in the long run of the season.
View from Chicago
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Chicago has been mostly up this season, with only a few downward swings. They are currently second in the Central Division. They were also hit by the curse of the bye-week, losing to Edmonton three games ago. Chicago continues to be an annual contender for the Stanley Cup, and they have been lucky to not have been hit by the injury bug much this season.
Going into tonight’s game, the only real concern for Chicago is if they will be complacent playing the Coyotes, since they are down at the bottom of the league. But Arizona victories over the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins suggest that the Coyotes are not to be taken lightly, especially by playoff teams.
1. Will the Coyotes keep up their progress? The Coyotes are 8-4-1 in their last 13 games, showing that the roster is not nearly as bad as people think it is. If they can keep picking up points here and there, they can play spoiler for many other teams trying to make the playoffs in the league.
2. Can the Coyotes keep shots attempts and shots against down? Mike Smith might be best when he faces 40 plus shots a game, but it is not an ideal way to keep winning games. If the Coyotes can keep shots to the outside and block shots in front of Smith, they may have a better chance to win against a team who can score in tight and from far out.
3. Will the Coyotes solve the Blackhawks goalie? The Blackhawks are getting stellar goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, if they want to find this game they need to be able to score against them.
Players to Watch
Arizona – Christian Dvorak. Dvorak is once again showing how important he is to the Coyotes. At 20 years old, Tippett trusts him enough to take face offs in the defensive zone against other teams top centers. Dvorak is coming into his own and has become a well rounded player in the last 15 or so games.
Chicago – Jonathan Toews. Toews is coming off of a hat trick against the Minnesota Wild. He can be streaky in his scoring but once he is hot, he can stay hot.
For the Coyotes, Lawson Crouse is currently on the injured reserve with a lower body injury but may be activated ahead of tonight’s game, and Brad Richardson is still out indefinitely with a his broken right Tibia/Fibula.
Former Coyote Michal Rozsival is considered questionable tonight for Chicago, but otherwise the Blackhawks are healthy.
Tonight’s game will be available on NBCSN at 6:30pm Arizona Time. You can also listen to the game at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.