Arizona Coyotes 2014-2015 Season Preview: The Chicago Blackhawks

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Tippett vs. Quenneville: Head-to-head predictions

Jan. 20, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville looks on during the third period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena. The Blackhawks beat the Coyotes 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

HH: Let’s look at last year’s record. Who triumphed over whom- and is next year looking to be a repeat?

SP: There was a little bit of both last season, with the Coyotes picking up a win in the three-game season series. I think the Blackhawks won’t have an easy time with any Western Conference team this season, but the Coyotes will have to do a better job of shutting down the big guys next time around. Kane had four points in three games, Toews had three, and Marian Hossa recorded three as well. It will probably end up another classic coaching duel between Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett, former Hartford Whaler teammates. 

CS: I think that it’s too soon to predict how many games we’ll win, but I agree- it’s not going to be a sweep by either team. I think that while the Blackhawks are undisputed powerhouses, the Coyotes are simply too good to fall in all three matchups of the season series. The Hawks host the Coyotes twice, though, so I think it’s safe to say that the record will look identical to last year. It’ll be close, though- expect at least one of those wins to be either in OT or a shootout. 

HH: Speaking of shootouts- both Corey Crawford and Mike Smith are the kind of goalies that get as much good press around the league as they do criticism. Some people think they both walk on water, other think they’re both overrated. If it came down to a shootout between the Coyotes and the Blackhawks, which goaltender do you think would be able to pull off the win? 

SP: Honestly- probably Smith and the Coyotes. Corey Crawford only has to be as good as the Blackhawks offense- and that’s all right. They’ve won two cups with goalies that aren’t considered “elite”. If you talk about the offensive side in the shootout, however, I’d say the Blackhawks have everyone beat- at least, on paper.

CS: I’d love to agree with you, but I just can’t. Corey Crawford isn’t elite, but arguably, neither is Smith- and I’d never want to be the netminder who has Patrick Kane bearing down on him in a one-on-one. I don’t know if you know, but Kane has a habit of making even the best goalies look silly.