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Coyotes-Blackhawks Preview - GAME 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Coyotes-Blackhawks Preview - GAME 4
Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals matchup with the Blackhawks tonight when they play Game 4 at the United Center in Chicago. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix took a 2-1 lead in the series on Tuesday when it rallied to beat Chicago, 3-2 in overtime, and re-captured home-ice advantage.

Mike Smith, who stopped 124 of 132 shots in the first three games, will start in goal for the Coyotes, who are 3-0 at the United Center this season.

The Coyotes will play minus center Martin Hanzal and left wing Lauri Korpikoski. Both players were injured in Game 2 and didn’t play in Game 3. Phoenix also will play without left wing Raffi Torres, whom the NHL on Wednesday suspended indefinitely for a hit on Chicago forward Marian Hossa in Game 3.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said his team is prepared to keep playing despite the hits to the roster.

“The one thing our group is very focused on is making sure it doesn’t overshadow everything,” Tippett said. “We’re a focused group… Our focus is on what we have to do to play better in Game 4.

Forward Mikkel Boedker, who scored the game-winning goal in Game 3, said he likes the way the Coyotes have played thus far in the series.

“It’s been a physical series and a hard-played series,” Boedker said. “They’ve got skilled guys and we just try to limit their chances and play on our chances, and so far I think we’ve done that.”

Photo by Getty Images.
The Blackhawks will be looking to even the series before it shifts back to Arizona for Game 5 on Saturday.

“Every game has been tight,” Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s been back and forth, everybody’s trying to hold on to a one-goal lead… But we think that’s what we have to play, a patient game. And try to be able to protect the lead when we do have it, we’d love to enhance it, but we’re not going to get a ton of scoring chances, and we don’t want to give up much.”

Goaltender Corey Crawford, who blamed himself for allowing a "terrible" goal by Boedker in overtime of Game 3, will be back in net for Chicago.

Hossa, who had no goals or assists in the first three games before being injured on the hit by Torres, will not play tonight. Taking his place will be 19-year old Brandon Saad. The Blackhawks selected Saad with the 43rd overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft last June.

Who's Hot
Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla notched three points (one goal, two assists) in Game 3 and leads the team with four points in the series.
Blackhawks center Patrick Kane leads the team with four points (all assists) and has 18 points in his last 14 playoff games.
Did You Know?
  • The series is the first Stanley Cup Playoffs series to have each of its first three games decided in overtime since 2008 (Colorado vs. Minnesota).

  • The Coyotes are tied with New Jersey for the fewest penalties in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs (12).

  • Game 4 will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus (inside the Phoenix market) and CNBC (outside the Phoenix market), and will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 5 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 12 '12 CHI 2 at PHX 3 - OT M. Hanzal
Apr 14 '12 CHI 4 at PHX 3 - OT B. Bickell
Apr 17 '12 PHX 3 at CHI 2 - OT M. Boedker
Apr 19 '12 PHX 3 at CHI 2 - OT M. Boedker
Apr 21 '12 CHI 2 at PHX 1 - OT J. Toews
Apr 23 '12 PHX 4 at CHI 0 O. Ekman-Larsson
A. Vermette4314-2420
R. Klesla4134+1200
K. Yandle4044+3200
M. Boedker4213+2002
T. Pyatt4213-1200
S. Doan4112+1400
R. Whitney4112+0400
R. Torres3112+2200
D. Langkow4022+3000
B. Gordon4022+0000
M. Hanzal2101+0201
A. Aucoin4011+2400
D. Morris4011+1200
R. Vrbata4011-3000
O. Ekman-Larsson4011-3200
M. Rozsival4000-2000
K. Chipchura3000+0000
G. Brule3000+0000
P. Bissonnette2000+01500
L. Korpikoski2000+0000
M. Pouliot1000+0000
M. Smith43-1101642.17.939
P. Kane4044+1000
J. Toews4123+4400
B. Seabrook4123+1000
J. Oduya4033+0000
D. Bolland4033+0200
B. Bickell4202+0411
M. Frolik2202+0000
N. Leddy4022+1000
B. Bollig4101+01900
A. Brunette4101-2000
P. Sharp4101-2400
B. Morrison1101+1000
D. Keith4011+1000
V. Stalberg4011-1000
N. Hjalmarsson4011-2400
M. Kruger4000-3000
M. Hossa3000+3000
J. Mayers3000-1000
A. Shaw2000+11500
S. O'Donnell2000-3000
B. Saad1000+1000
D. Olsen1000+0000
S. Lepisto1000-1000
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