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Coyotes face Hawks' squad struggling at home

by Eric Goodman
COYOTES (4-5-5) at BLACKHAWKS (8-8-1)


Last 10:
Phoenix 3-3-4; Chicago 4-6-0

Season Series:
This is the first of four meetings between these Western Conference clubs. Phoenix took three games last season, although two of those were in the shootout.

Big Story: The Coyotes conclude their block of the schedule in which they faced the last three Stanley Cup champion teams as Chicago will be the final stop on a tour that included the 2009 champion Pittsburgh Penguins at home this past Saturday and the 2008 Cup-winning Red Wings at Detroit on Monday. Phoenix is desperate for some leadership as it will be without captain Shane Doan for the foreseeable future due to a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have started the season with a below-average 4-6-0 record at the United Center and are hoping to rediscover the same formula that earned them a 29-8-4 record at home last season.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Monday's 3-2 overtime loss against the Red Wings marked the second straight game in which the Coyotes squandered a lead and failed to capitalize in extra play. The result was even tougher to handle last Saturday when the 'Yotes let the lead slip away twice, allowing a 2-0 result at the end of the first to become 2-2 in the second and again later that period when the Penguins made it 3-3 in the closing seconds, ultimately resulting in the 4-3 shootout defeat.

Despite the disappointing results, veterans like defenseman Ed Jovanovski are stepping up and maintaining a positive attitude.

"We battled pretty hard and had our chances," Jovanovski said following Monday's game. "I thought the last two games there's definitely been really good signs for this team. We just have to continue to work hard."

By no means are the Hawks in a bad spot this early in the season, but a current three-game losing streak at the Madhouse on Madison is something they'd like to end as quick as possible. And even more alarming than the six home losses is the fact that Chicago had a third-period lead in five of those games, including Sunday's 2-1 regulation defeat to the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton only has two road wins this season and both came at the United Center.

"I think that's our sore spot this year: the inability to close teams out and win at home," coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I think that was one of our strengths the last couple of years. We've got to re-establish home-ice advantage."

Who's Hot:
It's hard to classify anyone as truly hot for the Coyotes recently, but a return from illness by Jovanovski on Monday was a welcomed sight and should give the defense more of a physical presence. … For Chicago, Patrick Kane has managed points in 11 of 16 games this season including a three-point (2g, 1a) night on Nov. 6 at Atlanta.

Injury Report: Doan is currently listed as week-to-week with his lower-body injury. … Forward Marian Hossa returned to the Hawks' lineup Sunday from a shoulder injury, but center Dave Bolland (ribs) remains on injured reserve.

Stat Pack:
Phoenix is a League-worst 0-5 in overtime play this season.

Puck Drop: The three straight home losses for the Blackhawks, twice to the Oilers and once to the last-overall New Jersey Devils, is not sitting well with some of their players.

"Losing two games to these guys in our own building is not a good thing," Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell said following Sunday's game. "It's unacceptable. We've got to get a little mad in the locker room and go out there and win some more battles."

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