Found April 14, 2012 on
The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes will drop the puck tonight in Glendale, Ariz. for a Game 2 tilt. And there’s several factors in which the Blackhawks can capitalize to tie the series before going back to Chicago.
- Radim Vrbata, the Coyotes’ top goal-scorer left early in Game 1 with an upper-body injury. He’s day-to-day and will not play tonight.
- Mike Smith was brilliant in net for the Coyotes on Thursday. He shut down 43 Blackhawks shots, won his last six on just four goals allowed. With a slow offense game, Smith is coach Dave Tippett’s biggest component for success in the playoffs. But, the Blackhawks know a few miscues in the dump-and-chase department ended up hurting them in the end.
- Marrian Hossa on the dumping game: ”We have to make smarter dumps,” Hossa said. “Maybe just soft chip in the corner or hard around will work to keep him in the net.”
- Martin Hanzal’s game-winning goal came after an icing call on the Blackhawks, plenty to learn from that.
- And, finally, Jonathan Toews appears to be unshaken after being a physical target on Thursday. His return after 22 games was felt with one goal and an assist.
As for the Coyotes, they’ll need more defense, not from just Mike Smith.
Here’s what Smith told AZCentral.com:
“It’s time to finish all the checks, to block shots. It hurts to win. It’s the most important time to put your body on the line.”
That couldn’t be more true, with Smith having to be the last line of defense 43 times. Meanwhile, defender Adrian Aucoin doesn’t see the ‘Yotes slowing down on the physical aspect that led to many hits on Toews.
“I think we have a lineup where everybody can grind it out a little bit, but I don’t think anybody’s been out there to kill anybody. I thought it was some really good hockey.”
Today’s game will reveal the longevity of Smith, who’s new to being in such a prevalent role while the Blackhawks look to convert on chances more often this time around.
Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page. If you'd like to contribute, or appear as a guest columnist, please email us at CenterIceChat@gmail.com.
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