The first round of the playoffs are right around the corner, and the Chicago Blackhawks hope their future will not reflect their past.
The Blackhawks will be heading to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. They were 1-2-1 against the Coyotes during the regular season and in their most recent matchup were shut out 3-0.
Chicago hasn’t beaten the Coyotes since the first time these two met in mid-October; Chicago lost the next three straight.
The Blackhawks have not lost a game in regulation since their 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators two weeks ago. This could mean their problems between the pipes might not be so detrimental to them in the post-season, as one could have predicted.
Most importantly, though, the return of their team captain Jonathan Toews could be their key to success. After missing a quarter of the season with a concussion and post-concussion symptoms he may return for the first game of the Hawks playoff run.
In 59 games Toews scored 29 goals and tallied up 57 points to make him one of the most consistent scorers in Chicago this season. What will make his return even sweeter is he was also the team’s highest scorer against the Coyotes as well.
In the four games that these teams met Toews averaged one point per game scoring three goals and one assist. Offense won’t win them games though if Chicago can’t find which goalie will struggle less against Phoenix.
Goaltenders Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have each played only one full game against Phoenix, and weren’t games to be the most proud of.
Their lone win came while Crawford was in net posting up a measly 14 saves on 16 shots. Then Crawford’s next two starts against Phoenix resulted in him watching the end of the game from the bench with Emery in between the pipes.
Finishing the two games in net Emery saved all 14 shots that came his way. So he got his first start against Phoenix while on the road. The game was the last matchup of the season between the two and ended in a 3-0 loss for Chicago.
Emery had 23 saves out of 26 shots that game but showed the most solid performance in net between the two goaltenders in Chicago. This and the fact that Chicago just resigned Emery to another one-year contract could be good reasoning why Chicago wants to see what he can do for the team in the post-season.