The past two seasons were a struggle for the Blackhawks. Although they qualified for the playoffs both years, neither route was ideal.
In 2011, gutted post-Cup victory, they backed into the playoffs based on the Wild's win over the Stars in game 82. The battle leading up to the playoffs left the team battered and tired - yet they still pushed the Canucks to Game 7 OT in the first round.
In 2012, they had a bit more of a cushion, but 101 points in the ultra-competitive West was only good enough for 6th place. Although the Blackhawks pushed the Coyotes to five OT games, and then lost to Phoenix 0-4 in Game 6 on home ice.
The Phoenix Coyotes' 6-3 opening night loss at the HP Pavilion on Saturday night, complete with several inopportune penalties and a frightening number of defensive breakdowns, will surely be something they'll want to bounce back from this afternoon as the puck drops at 5 p.m. Dallas time. Shane Doan, celebrating his 35th birthday today, scored two power play goals and led his team with 6 of 29 shots on goal. On the other end of the ice, new Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith saw a whopping 52 shots fired in his direction. The Coyotes haven't allowed that many since early 1997.
Phoenix has won their last two contests in Dallas ...