GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Within the first five minutes of Thursday's Western Conference quarterfinals opener between the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes, it was clear both teams were playing with a new dynamic.
The Blackhawks got Jonathan Toews back after a 22-game absence related to a concussion, and the young center made his presence felt quickly with a goal four minutes into the first period. The Coyotes, meanwhile, lost winger Radim Vrbata to an undisclosed injury 30 seconds into the game and were forced to adjust without their leading scorer.
"Losing Vrbata early in the game, that's 35 goals out of our lineup right there," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "I was concerned about the rhythm of our game without Vrbata. It was harder to get a read on what we were doing because you lose a guy on your top line first shift, you've got to make some adjustments in a hurry."
The Coyotes ultimately made those adjustments and took a 1-0 series lead with 3-2 victory despite the Blackha...