Game Day: Chicago Blackhawks @ Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes saved very little visible emotion for their former selves on Saturday, shelling the Jets' opposition with 34 shots compared to only 19 in return on their way to a 4-1 win. Now the 2-1-0-1 'Yotes face off against the 2-1-0-1 Blackhawks, who are coming off a shootout loss against the Boston Bruins. Half of the four matchups between Phoenix and Chicago last year went to a shootout.
While their records through the first four games are identical, their power plays are not. Chicago even allowed a shorthanded goal on Saturday, and their record sits at 11.8% compared to the Coyotes' 23.8%. Last year, the Blackhawks went for a combined 6/10 with the man advantage against Dave Tippett's club. Meanwhile, Phoenix's power play was several shades less than nonexistent.
Quick Hits: Blackhawks
♦ Former Coyote Daniel Carcillo makes a return to the desert tonight, he who after serving a two-game suspension has fared well with new linemates Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.
♦ David Bolland has three goals in addition to one of the highest faceoff-percentages league-wide (53.7%). He and goaltender Ray Emery know a thing or two about beating the Jets as well, Bolland who netted the game-winner and Emery who made 27 saves in his debut for the Blackhawks on the way to a 4-3 win Thursday night.
♦ However, Corey Crawford has an upper hand on the Coyotes, having stopped 71 of 77 shots in three games (2-0-1) with a 1.89 GAA against them last year.
♦ Andrew Brunette has 41 points in 43 games for the team lead against Phoenix.
Quick Hits: Coyotes
♦ Mike Smith is expected as the starter once again tonight, he who is 1-1-0 and has a 1.35 GAA against the Blackhawks in his career.
♦ With a two-goal performance on Saturday, Oliver Ekman-Larsson already has triple his goal output from last season in just four games. He currently tops all blueliners in the NHL.
♦ In terms of the more punishing aspects of the game, Martin Hanzal leads the Coyotes with 15 hits, while Derek Morris and Adrian Aucoin share the blocked-shot load with 9 each. The last meeting between these two teams was Aucoin's 1000th game in the NHL.
♦ Shane Doan has a point in every game he's played so far and is tied for 2nd in the NHL with 7 points.
♦ Boyd Gordon has a combined 69% faceoff efficiency rating in the last two games.