Nov 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and Phoenix Coyotes right wing David Moss (18) fight for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks' Pacific Division Gauntlet Part III of III: Arizona

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After a somewhat sluggish start and strong finish versus the Canadian teams, and more of the same against the California teams, our beloved Chicago Blackhawks are in the desert to take on the Phoenix Coyotes (who incidentally will go by the Arizona Coyotes next year – yeah marketing!) in the last road game of the Pacific Division Gauntlet.

During the past couple years, the Blackhawks and Coyotes have had somewhat of a checkered history, the climax being their post season meeting in the first round of the 2011-2012 playoff, where the Yotes upset the Hawks in six games, five of which went into overtime.

This season however the Blackhawks have beaten the Coyotes in their previous two meetings, including a 5-2 W in Phoenix. Let’s hope for some more of the same this evening, considering the Coyotes have fallen from the grace they were enjoying earlier this season (currently sitting at 9th in the Western Conference), and have been experiencing a bit of a seesaw run of it this past month: winning a few and losing a few.

The Coyotes are still a dangerous team however, and will certainly be looking to come out gunning against the Blackhawks to keep their playoff hopes a reality. Additionally the Hawks will be sans Patrick Kane this evening, who will be back in his native Buffalo, NY to attend his grandfather’s funeral, so other Blackhawks are going to have to step up and help fill the gap, be it Kris Versteeg (who will be best man at Coyote’s Rob Klinkhammer’s wedding during the Olympic break) or Brandon Bollig, who has traditionally been able to get the better of Yotes’ goalie Mike Smith (knock on wood).

This is the last game the Blackhawks will play before they temporarily disband and send ten players to Russia to compete for gold over the next few weeks, so let’s hope for a strong finish tonight before we start rooting for our boys in red, white, and black on Sochi time.

FOR THE DAGGER!

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