: Pre-Game Talk:
(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (6) Chicago Blackhawks
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04-08-2012, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
No team in the West allowed more goals that made the playoffs than the Blackhawks. The Predators and Sharks allowed 28 fewer goals and are the next worst defensively in the West. There is clearly a question of whether or not Crawford can hold the nets down on their side and that will help the Coyotes who might be more offensive challenged at times as they are the third worst offensively in the West behind the Kings and Blues.
All of the talk on the Hawk's boards is that their team is going to blow it out of the water but at the same time they are saying that they give up weak goals, can't hold a lead and play inconsistently from game to game. I think it's going to be a good series, but I think to discount the Coyotes is a little foolish.
As expected, for the Hawks to make the playoffs as the poorest defensive team in the West playoffs their offense is very good, tied for second with the Red Wings and behind the Canucks by only 1 goal on the season. The Coyotes were the 5th best defensive team in the league, so that's a good matchup.
The Coyotes obviously have a poor powerplay, ranking 29th in the league at 13.5%. The Blackhawks powerplay is not that much better at 26th in the league with 15.2%. The key is that the Hawks have poor specialty teams overall and their penalty kill is 27th with 78.1%.
The Coyotes, true to their defensive play, have a good penalty kill ranked 8th in the league at 85.5%.
Defense wins in the playoffs, including goaltending, so I think you have to give the Coyotes the edge in that regard.
The seasons series favors the Coyotes 2-1-1 in regulation (I am not going to count a shootout win as a win) with the Coyotes outscoring the Hawks 12-9. Coyotes went 1-1 at home, and 1-0-1 at the United Center.
The Coyotes never scored a powerplay goal against the Hawks this year going 0 for 7, thus giving the Hawks 100% penalty kill on the series. The Hawks did score on 1 of their 12 chances giving them a 17% powerplay efficiency and the Coyotes a 83% penalty kill efficiency.
The Hawks won 57% of the faceoffs and led the series in takeaways 31 to 38. The team was evenly matched with 20 giveaways each. The Coyotes outhit the Hawks 109 to 92 and also led the series in PIM's 38 to 28. Finally the Hawks led the series with 133 shots averaging 33 shots a game to the Coyotes 23 shot average.
There's a tale of the tape as they say.
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