RECORDS: Hawks 12-13-6 Coyotes 18-11-4
PUCK DROP: 8pm
TV: NBCSN Chicago
SOOOPER GENIUS: Five For Howling
The Hawks and Coyotes will do it again, just four days after they came together for an occasion that will be lost to the annals of time soon (hopefully). In the interim, they both got kicked around by Pacific Division opponents, the Hawks by the Knights and the Coyotes by the Flames.
So obviously not that much has changed since these two went to a shootout on Sunday. The one major storyline for the Hawks is what they’ll do without Calvin de Haan now as he joins Duncan Keith in the medical tent. de Haan wasn’t put on LTIR today, just normal injury reserve, so maybe it’s not the catastrophe it looked on Tuesday. Either way, he’s out for the next few.
On the surface, we know that it means. Assuming Olli Maatta has recovered from the West Nile he contracted in New Jersey, he’ll come back in, pair with Seabrook, while Gustafsson is with Murphy and the two kids are together for like nine minutes. What it should mean is pairing Adam Boqvist with Connor Murphy and see what you have. Because what do the Hawks have to lose? They’re bottom of the division, they’re one of if not the worst defensive team in the league, so let’s have some fun. Give Boqvist the best free safety you have and let him run. Yes, he had a bad turnover on Tuesday that led to a goal. It’s going to happen. He also hit a post, created two other chances, and helped set up the goal you got. Let him make mistakes, live with it, see if he gets better. We know the Erik Gustafsson road. We know the Slater Koekkoek road. We know exactly where it ends.
Other than that, it’s hard to give you reasons to get excited to watch. The forwards should stay the same, unless Matthew Highmore comes in for someone, possibly Sikura though he hasn’t done anything wrong in two games, really. And once again the Hawks will hope that the Coyotes don’t have a plan for the night, or won’t stick to it, because that’s generally the only way the Hawks win.
Luckily for the Hawks, the Yotes defense might be as big of a mess as theirs. Jason Demers joined Niklas Hjalmarsson the shelf, and they were all over the place against Calgary on Tuesday. They gave up goals to Zac Rinaldo and Milan Lucic, which in a world that was logical would lead to automatic relegation instantly. They gave up 24 shots in the first two periods, though did rally furiously for a 17-5 edge in that category in the 3rd after the Flames had checked out.
The Yotes certainly have been piling up the shots lately, with 48 against Calgary and 47 against the Hawks on Sunday. If they had finishing talent, they might have been pouring in the goals. But they don’t, so they’ve gotten two of four points and needed a shootout for those.
Same plan as Sunday. The Yotes are pretty quick up front, and gave the Hawks fits when they were diligent about forechecking and harassing the Hawks D into turnovers. When the Hawks try and freelance out of this or don’t really care about helping out, you get what you got on Tuesday or the last half of Sunday. If the Hawks are dedicated to moving the puck quickly and directly, they can create chances against a beleaguered Coyotes blue line.
If the Hawks can’t get points here, they’re staring dead straight at the season being over by Christmas. The Avs are up twice next week, as is a trip to The Peg after a home date with the Wild, who just zoomed past them in the standings. It’s very easy for all of that to go balls-up. Have to get you can while you can when you can. And more quotes from random sources that might inspire.