Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coyotes & Blackhawks Playoff Preview

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks

The Phoenix Coyotes have defied critics and won their first division title in the desert.  Their reward?  The revamped Chicago Blackhawks.  Shane Doan and the resilient Coyotes will bring their defensive brand of hockey that vaulted Mike Smith into the stratosphere late in the season to the Blackhawks and their offensive brand of hockey.  

The old maxim ‘defense wins championships’ usually holds true, but the Coyotes will be in tough.  The Chicago Blackhawks may be too talented to be held back by the Coyotes this year.  However, for the Hawks to win, they will need Corey Crawford to be the playoff hero he was last season, and a healthy Jonathan Toews.

As if the Hawks prolific offense isn’t enough of a threat, the Coyotes will be in tough at the Madhouse on Madison, while the Hawks should have a healthy fan base in the desert. 

This series should be an interesting one.  Most experts are picking the Blackhawks, but they’ve allowed far too many goals, had inconsistent goaltending, and of course – the questions surrounding the health of Jonathan Toews.  Meanwhile, the Coyotes will be led by veterans Shane Doan and Ray Whitney who will be looking to hoist Lord Stanley, or at least dive deep into the playoffs for the first time in recent memory.

PuckWatch Hat-trick:
·         Will Mike Smith keep up his stellar play?
·         Will the Coyotes’ defense shutdown the Blackhawks’ offense?
·         Can Jonathan Toews return and be a difference maker?

Top Scorers to Draft
CHI – Patrick Kane
CHI – Marian Hossa
CHI – Patrick Sharp
PHX – Ray Whitney
PHX – Shane Doan
PHX – Keith Yandle

Series Prediction
It may be easy to underestimate the Coyotes after being swept last year.  They’ll make it a series and could upset, but the Hawks should take it in 6.
Other Playoff Previews
Western Conference

Eastern Conference

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