A good one in the desert this evening. The Chicago Blackhawks come to Glendale to battle the Coyotes in there fifth contest of the young season. It appears Jason LaBarbera will be getting the nod in net for the Coyotes.Labarbera has had success against the Blackhawks since joining the Coyotes. He is off to a good start this season, and provided a much needed win in Nashville. Both teams are entering the game with identical records. It is still early in the season, but a victory could be a huge building block for the season.
The Coyotes played well in front of a sell out crowd, beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. In order to win this game, the Coyotes will need to put out a similar effort. More importantly, the Coyotes will need to stay out of the penalty box against the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are dangerous enough 5 on 5, but giving Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Jonathan Toews more room is never good for the opposition. Here are a few points to keep in mind for tonight’s match up:
- Some familiar faces are returning tonight in Sami lepisto and Daniel Carcillo. I am sure the crowd will show there appreciation to the former fan favorite, Carcillo. His buddy Paul Bissonnette is sure to show him some home town hospitality. Lepisto is a perfect fit with his current team, and his mobility will be dangerous to defend.
- Boyd Gordon is off to a phenomenal start this season. Gordon has been excellent in the face-off circle, and provided some great offensive pressure with his line mates.
- The Coyotes defense has recovered nicely from opening night in San Jose. David Schlemko has filled in nicely for Michal Rozsival. Rusty Klesla has improved nicely and seems to be picking up his game.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson has impressed many around the NHL with his early offensive play. The Coyotes will need him to continue the offense, but more importantly he needs to show improvement in his defensive zone decisions and positioning.
- The top line seems to be clicking early in the season. Daymond Langkow had an early goal against the Jets, and Ray Whitney is showing no signs of aging. Whitney has always been a creative playmaker, but this may be a 30 goal year for the crafty veteran.
- Shane Doan is one goal away from 300 for his career. Yes it would have been nice to see him achieve this great accomplishment against the organization where he began his career, but I think all Coyotes fans will be fine if he gets the goal tonight.
- The more reps this team gets, the better. The lines combinations are starting to come together and form chemistry. The Coyotes need to get players like Vrbata, Korpikoski, and Hanzal going in the goal department.
Enjoy the game!
* For in game commentary follow me on twitter @gbrew34
Topics: Boyd Gordon, Chicago Blackhawks, Daniel Carcillo, David Schlemko, Glendale, Hanzal, Jason LaBarbera, Jonathan Toews, Korpikoski, Michal Rozsival, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Paul Bissonnette, Phoenix Coyotes, Ray Whitney, Rusty Klesla, Sami Lepisto, San Jose, Shane Doan, Vrbata