Blackhawks News

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Looking to Avoid 3rd Consecutive Loss as they Face Arizona Coyotes

By Brian Kinkade
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Apr 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the shoot out at the United Center. The Phoenix Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in the shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the dog days, so let’s all relax.  Still, the Chicago Blackhawks have looked bad, I mean really bad, the last few games.  Things could be worse, though.  The Arizona Coyotes have been struggling all season and potential 3-game losing streaks are no longer noteworthy, for them.

This will be the first of the 3-game season series between the Hawks and Coyotes.  Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM Central Time.  Tonight’s game can be seen on CSN-Chicago and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Coyotes.

[table id=116 /]

Offensively, overall this season the Hawks have been very good and will be up against a Coyotes defense that has been one of the worst in the league.

Defensively, overall anyways, the Hawks have been elite, although lately they have been terrible a return to their regular dominance should be expected at some point.  The Hawks will be up against a Coyotes offensive attack that has been near the bottom of the league.

On the Power Play, the Hawks have been average and will face a Coyotes Penalty Kill that has been one of the worst in the league.  For the Hawks, on the Penalty Kill, they have been the best in the league, overall this season, and will face a very good Arizona Power Play.

In the faceoff circle, the Hawks have been great, this season, and will be taking draws against the Coyotes, who have been even better in the dot.

In terms of puck-possession, the Hawks are an elite team and they will be fighting for the puck with a Coyotes team that is somehow one of the worst in the league, even after being so good at winning faceoffs and starting with the puck more often than not.

The advantage clearly goes to the Hawks, as it does most nights, but recently that advantage has done very little to help them win hockey games.   With a significant statistical advantage and playing on their home-ice, a loss tonight could sting pretty badly for the Hawks.

The Coyotes are currently in 6th place in the Pacific Division, with a record of 16-24-5 and 37 points, they are 6 points ahead of the last-place Edmonton Oilers and a whopping 15 points behind the 5th place Los Angeles Kings.

Antoine Vermette, who has been the subject of many trade rumors, leads the Coyotes in points with 30.  Right behind him in points, is veteran defenseman, Keith Yandle, who is one point away from 300 in his career.  Fellow defenseman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is in a 4-way tie, for the league lead in goals for a defenseman with 12.  Longt-time Coyote and team captain, Shane Doan, returned from injury in Sunday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, and recorded 2 assists on the night.

In net for the ‘Yotes will be Mike Smith.  Smith has a had a rough go of it this season as he has an atrocious .887 Save Percentage in 30 games played.

The Hawks hold a 28-15-2 record, which is good for 58 points and a tie for third place in the Central Division with the Winnipeg Jets.  After/during this cold streak, the Hawks are now 4 points behind the 2nd place St. Louis Blues and 6 points behind the 1st place Nashville Predators.

Despite the team’s funk, Brandon Saad has been anything but, with 6 points in the last 4 games.  Jonathan Toews is working on a 5-game point streak, but also has an 11-game goal-less streak.  When considering Patrick Kane’s season, 3 points in his last 4 games almost feels like a cold streak.  In Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Stars, Brent Seabrook recorded 2 assists to break a 4-game pointless streak.

In net for the Hawks will be Antti Raanta.  Raanta is starting in relief of Corey Crawfordwho will likely be getting the start tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  This season, Raanta has been very good overall with a .934 Save Percentage.

A January skid for a team in the Hawks’ position isn’t the end of the world.  However, it’d be nice to stop talking negatively about the Hawks, so please Hawks, let’s win this one.

Go Hawks!

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