NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 20th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (0-1-0), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Marian Hossa saw his 2012 postseason come to an early end
thanks to an illegal hit from Phoenix's Raffi Torres. Unfortunately for the
Chicago Blackhawks, they followed suit a few games later.
Hossa and the Blackhawks look for some revenge on Sunday night as they visit
After the Coyotes won three of four versus the Blackhawks during the regular
season, Pacific Division-winning Phoenix took on sixth-seeded Chicago in the
Western Conference quarterfinals. The series took a drastic shift when Hossa
was laid out in Game 3 on a hit from Torres.
Hossa exited the United Center arena on a stretcher after Torres left his feet
to deliver a hit to the forward's head. Hossa did not have the puck and Torres
was not penalized, but was eventually handed a 25-game suspension by the
Though the ban has since been reduced, Torres is still slated to sit out the
first eight games of this season to finish up the suspension.
Chicago went on to lose the series in six games, while Phoenix advanced to the
conference finals before losing in five games to the Los Angeles Kings.
Hossa made his return to the ice on Saturday against the Kings and scored
twice while adding an assist in a 5-2 win.
"Me personally, I kind of went slow and tried to build my confidence again. I
haven't played for a long time like some other guys, especially after the
concussion. As the game went on I started feeling more confident, more
comfortable on the ice," noted Hossa.
Hossa was among three first-period goal scorers for the Blackhawks, with
Patrick Kane and Michael Frolik also lighting the lamp. Jonathan Toews scored
76 seconds into the second period to give Chicago a commanding lead and Corey
Crawford ended with 19 saves.
"Nice win. We knew it was going to be tough," said Kane. "It was nice to get a
3-0 lead early. Everyone is going to play their best against the Cup champion.
It's a good start."
Chicago is opening the shortened season by playing 10 of 12 on the road and
lost forward Daniel Carcillo to a lower-body injury on Saturday. He is
expected to "miss some time," according to the club.
Phoenix, coming off its first ever division title, lost its opener on
Saturday, falling 4-3 to the Dallas Stars.
The Coyotes were playing their first game since Ray Whitney left as a free
agent. He led Phoenix with 77 points a season ago before signing with the
Stars over the summer. Whitney had a goal and an assist against his former
team on Saturday.
Radim Vrbata posted two goals and an assist while Lauri Korpikoski also scored
for the Coyotes. Mike Smith gave up four goals on 26 shots in the loss.
"It's a tough way to lose and uncharacteristic for our team," Phoenix coach
Dave Tippett said. "It's the first game coming out, you have to expect some
mistakes, but we certainly need to clean up those errors."
Following the road loss, the Coyotes will next play two straight and five of
their next six at home and have won four of their last six as the host versus
01/20 10:46:58 ET