Blackhawks play their last game before the Olympics against the Coyotes

The Blackhawks (35-10-14) are continuing their road trip, exiting California after grabbing 5 out of 6 potential points against the three Californian teams. Next, they’re headed to Phoenix to face the Coyotes (26-20-10). The Hawks and Coyotes faced each other twice already in the regular season, with Chicago getting the W both times, once in the shootout and once in regulation.

 

The Blackhawks will be without Patrick Kane for this contest, who’s flown back to Buffalo for family matters and will miss the team’s last game before the Olympic break. Also out is D-man Johnny Oduya, although coach Joel Quenneville said it would not keep him from playing for team Sweden during the Sochi Games. The Coyotes, however, have currently no one on IR, with Captain Shane Doan playing again after suffering from Rocky Mountain fever, which sidelined him for almost a month.

 

Mike Smith, one of the Coyotes’ Olympians, has a 2.85 GAA and .910 SV%. He will very probably be in net for Phoenix. The Blackhawks’ starting goaltender, Corey Crawford, posted his first shutout of the season against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday evening. He has a 2.36 GAA and .916 SV%. He is probable in net.

 

Phoenix is coming off a loss against the Dallas Stars, while the Blackhawks have won both their games against the Kings and the Ducks in the past week, and both teams will have had one or two days to rest. It will be an interesting game to watch, with 10 Blackhawks players heading off to the Olympics very shortly, their focus could be slightly lacking. The Phoenix Coyotes are a physical team that have given the Blackhawks difficulties in the past, and the rivalry there is definitely alive and kicking.

 

Frequent lines:

Blackhawks:

Hossa - Toews - Sharp

Kane - Handzus - Versteeg

Bickell - Shaw - Saad

Bollig - Kruger - Smith

 

Keith - Seabrook

Hjalmarsson - Oduya

Leddy - Roszival

 

Coyotes:

Doan - Hanzal - Vrbata

Boedker - Vermette - Korpikoski

Moss - Klinkhammer - Ribeiro

 

Yandle - Morris

Michalek - Ekman-Larsson

Murphy - Schlemko

 

Game time is 9.00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on CSN-CH, FS-A.

 

Follow our Blackhawks writers at @TCLBlackhawks on Twitter, and you can find me at @hockeyfied.