The Chicago Blackhawks get ready to conclude their six-game pre-Olympic road trip tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Blackhawks are 3-0-2 in their last five games and have won two straight. The Coyotes have lost two of their last three. This is the third and final meeting between the teams. The Blackhawks have won each of the first two meetings.
Here are some notes for tonight`s game:
- The Coyotes will be honoring the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team tonight.
- The Blackhawks will be without forward Patrick Kane as he has left the team due to personal reasons. Kane leads the team with 63 points.
- With 10 players headed to the Olympics, the Blackhawks can`t afford to look past this game. They must first take care of business and come out with a win tonight before looking ahead to Sochi.
- Newly acquired forward Peter Regin is expected to be in the lineup tonight for the Blackhawks. Regin had two goals and five assists in 44 games with the Islanders this season. He will wear number 12 with the Blackhawks.
- Mike Ribeiro leads the Coyotes with 39 points, but has been held pointless in three of his last four games.
Battle Between The Pipes
Crawford is coming off a 29 save performance on Wednesday in which he recorded his first shutout of the season. Crawford was left off team Canada and will try to outduel his counterpart in Mike Smith.
Smith is 0-1-1 against the Blackhawks this season. He has allowed 79 goals on 87 shots during those two games. Smith is headed to the Olympics to represent Canada and will try to put forth a strong outing in efforts of getting some playing time.
Players To Watch
Hossa enters tonight on a five-game point streak, recording seven points during that stretch. He has two goals and one assist in the two games against Phoenix this year and will try to continue his strong play tonight.
Vermette enters tonight on an eight-game point streak where he has eight goals and three assists. Vermette has recorded no points and just one shot in two games against the Blackhawks this season.
When the Blackhawks are at their best, it is because their fourth line is producing and their penalty killing unit is keeping pucks out of the net. A lot of that success is because of Kruger. Kruger is without a point in four of his last five games, but has a big impact on the game regardless of what shows up on the scoreboard. He is also amongst the best in the NHL in the face off circle.
Phoenix Coyotes: Forward, Rob Klinkhammer: 9 G, 8 A, 17 P
Klinkhammer has one goal and one assist against the Blackhawks this season. He has been a force on the ice in those games, but hasn`t been very consistent this year. Klinkhammer is without a point in nine of his last 10 games overall.
Tonight's game starts at 8 pm. CT.
Let's Go Hawks!
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