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Playoff matchups: Blackhawks hope to overpower Coyotes

Apr 7, 2012, 10:47 PM EDT

Andrew Shaw, Kyle Chipchura AP

Let’s play a little game of good news/bad news for the Phoenix Coyotes, who will hold home ice advantage as the third seed against the sixth-ranked Chicago Blackhawks.

On the very bright side, Dave Tippett engineered his greatest accomplishment with Phoenix so far as the team won its first division title. The bummer is that there’s no guarantee that they’ll play another season in the desert – even after three consecutive trips to the playoffs.

Want more? The good news is that they won’t face the Detroit Red Wings after being spurned by them for two straight years. The bad news is that they’ll draw another former Stanley Cup-winning Central Division team with a lot of firepower in the Blackhawks.

It looks like another battle of strength vs. strength as the Blackhawks’ offense takes on a Coyotes team that’s very tough to score on. Chicago has stars like Jonathan Toews (if healthy), Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook. The Coyotes have a dark horse Vezina candidate in goalie Mike Smith and some quietly effective scorers in veteran Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata.

Really, it might be as much a story of explosiveness (Blackhawks) vs. stability (Coyotes). One big factor is the Blackhawks’ weak road record, as they’re just 18-18-5 away from the United Center.

It should be interesting, so feel free to share gut reactions.

  1. babar61 - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    I’m taking Chicago in 6.

  2. fourfeatherfury - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    As long as Tazer can make it back for the series, ‘Hawks in 5. 6 Max.

  3. yotesfan3 - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Go yotes!!

  4. bensawesomeness - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    I’m really torn on who to pick, but i think i’ll likely side with the ‘Yotes in like 6 or 7
    Even though that means that the winner of the 4-5 matchup will likely play Vancouver (as a Wings fan, this is daunting, but do-able. Not probable. doable.)

  5. schartz55 - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Good luck with Pekka and the Preds Ben. As a hawks fan I’m thinking this one will come down to Toews return and effectiveness. Also Crawford’s ability to sustain the routine saves. That being said, assuming both teams play they’re best Hawks in 6. Smith stands on his head…Yotes in 5. This series really boils down to the Hawks ability to score and not let in softies.

  6. kcprof926 - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Hawks power play is just horrible and their penalty kill just as bad. This will be the key to the series as well as Toews playing.

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