The Chicago Blackhawks will be heading to the desert to play their first-round of this year’s NHL playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes. Because the Coyotes won the Pacific Division (even though the Hawks had WAY more points, more regulation and overtime wins) they get home ice advantage.
The Phoenix-Chicago matchup is missing the “story-lines” of recent first round opponents, there isn’t animosity that oozes from every Vancouver game, they don’t have one of Chicago’s past goalies tearing it up in the net like San Jose, and there isn’t any deep rooted historic rivalry that lives with the Detroit Red Wings. Perhaps the Blackhawks and Coyotes can create their owns subplot this series – everyone loves a juicy rivalry.
With Blackhawks’ Captain Jonathan Toews status still questionable, and after sitting so many games he will be a little rusty on the ice, Chicago will be looking to another star, Patrick Kane, to keep up his play. He has truly stepped up his game at the end of the regular season with the loss of Toews. Kane may not have a “C” on his jersey, but that boy can score.
Phoenix will host Games 1 and 2 Thursday and Saturday. Unfortunately, the Pacific Time zone is not in Chicago’s favor as both games have 9 p.m. central time starts (damn west coast). The Blackhawks will host Games 3 and 4 at the United Center on April 17 and April 19. Game 3 is slated for an 8 p.m. start and Game 4 for 7 p.m. Game 5 will head back in Glendale on April 21. Game 6, if necessary, is April 23 in Chicago; Game 7, if necessary, is April 25 in Glendale.
Get your Blackhawks gear ready, it’s Stanley Cup playoff time!