The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes have identical records, but the Blackhawks are hoping that getting a key player back in their lineup will help them add to their win total.
If Marian Hossa
can return from his upper-body injury, he'll try to continue his recent success against the Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Hossa had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over Winnipeg on Thursday but sat out Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to Boston. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Monday that he was hopeful the veteran forward would be back for his team's visit to Jobing.com Arena.
Hossa's presence on the ice might give the Blackhawks (2-1-1) a good chance to rebound from Saturday's defeat, as he has nine goals and six assists in his last 15 games against the Coyotes (2-1-1). He had a point in the final three matchups in 2010-11, and helped Chicago prevail in two of those to split the four-game season series.
Hossa has at least one point in each of his past six visits to Arizona, and his return might help a lagging power play that's converted two of 17 opportunities.
The Blackhawks failed to score on two chances in the third period against Boston and gave up the tying goal with 12:04 remaining. They also allowed a short-handed score earlier in the game.
"I think for whatever the reason, we didn't really play the way we wanted to in the third," said forward Patrick Kane
, who gave Chicago a lead early in the second period. "It's tough to give up a goal, especially when you're up 2-1, but it kind of seemed like we were playing back a little bit and not really pushing the pace."
Kane has a point in each game, totaling two goals and four assists, and has three assists in his past two matchups with Phoenix.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak, but it was defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson who shined in a 4-1 win over the Jets on Saturday.
Ekman-Larsson, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, scored a pair of goals in the home opener, giving him three on the season. He had one goal in 48 games in 2010-11.
"That position is a hard position for young players to play and what you see in Ekman-Larsson is that he is really buying into the details of the game," coach Dave Tippett said. "He is making good, simple plays. He is not getting himself in trouble, and his skill is showing."
Doan is one goal shy of 300 for his career and has one in his last 17 games against Chicago. The veteran forward has contributed four assists over his last seven matchups.
will try to keep Doan from adding to his point total while denying the Coyotes' attempt for a third straight win. Crawford is 2-0-1 with a 1.90 goals-against average in three games against Phoenix.
Coyotes starter Mike Smith is 1-1-0 with a 1.35 GAA in two meetings with the Blackhawks, and he made 31 saves during a 2-0 victory in Chicago on April 3 while with Tampa Bay. Backup Jason LaBarbera is 4-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA in five appearances versus the Blackhawks.