NHL Playoffs: Previewing Game 3 of the Coyotes vs. Blackhawks Series
However, there is still some unfinished business from Game 2 that remains unsettled. After having a hearing on Monday there still has been no word on if rookie Andrew Shaw will be suspended.
If Smith does not play, the Coyotes will have no choice but to turn to backup Jason LaBarbera. It is also unclear if Martin Hanzel and Lauri Korpikoski will play. Both left Saturday night's game with injuries.
For the Blackhawks, the only change in the lineup will happen if Shaw is suspended. Coach Joel Quenneville could turn to Brendan Morrison, Michael Frolik or Jimmy Hayes who were healthy scratches the first two games if Shaw is suspended.
Or maybe he could turn to one of the "black aces" that were just called up.
As many teams do during the playoffs, the Blackhawks called up a few of their players from the minor leagues, and two of them might find a way into the lineup during the playoffs. Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri were two of the six players who were called up.
Pirri was an AHL All-Star for the Rockford Icehogs, while Saad was terrific in the OHL scoring 76 points in 44 games. Both were actually on the opening day roster for the Blackhawks before being sent down.
For the Coyotes they want to keep doing exactly what they have been doing. They have held an edge in the faceoff circle in both games and have out hit the Hawks 88 to 56.
For the Blackhawks they need to take better advantage on the power play. They are 1-7 with the man advantage in the series but are 2-0 when it comes down to forcing the game into overtime after pulling the goalie.
As the road team Chicago did exactly what they needed to do by stealing one of the first two games and now hold the home ice advantage in the series. On the other hand, now the Coyotes need to do the exact same thing in these next two games to regain home ice.
With both of the first two games going into overtime, it should be an interesting game regardless of who is in the house, and I know the Madhouse on Madison will be rocking tonight.
Update From Morning Skate: Both Smith and Hanzel were on the ice for the morning skate, so I would expect both to be in the lineup tonight. Both are officially game time decision, while Korpikoski is out.
For the Blackhawks it appears that rookie Dylan Olsen might be in the lineup as that rotating sixth defenseman. Sean O'Donnell started Game 1 and was replaced by Sami Lepisto in Game 2.
Suspension: Shaw has been suspended for three games. Expect to see Hayes, Frolik or Morrison in the lineup as the "black aces" were practicing in Rockford today. Here are my thoughts on the suspension.
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