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Coyotes host Blackhawks in home opener

by John Kreiser

BLACKHAWKS (1-0-0) at COYOTES (0-1-0)

TV: NBCSN (HD), TSN, CSN-Chicago (HD)

Season series: It's the first of three meetings this season, and the Hawks would undoubtedly like a little revenge after the Coyotes bounced them in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring,

Big story: The Coyotes come home for the first time since making the Western Conference Finals last spring. One of their victims was the Hawks, who finish a season-opening two-game trip with hopes of a sweep. Phoenix dropped its opener in Dallas on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: It's hard to have a much better start to a season than the Blackhawks had in Los Angeles on Saturday. They riddled Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick for four goals in less than 22 minutes and breezed to a 5-2 victory that spoiled the defending Stanley Cup champions' opener.

"That's probably the perfect game, team-wise, to start the year," said forward Patrick Kane, who scored the first goal and added an assist.

The best news for the Hawks was that star forward Marian Hossa showed no ill effects from the concussion he suffered last spring when he was flattened with an illegal check by Coyotes forward Raffi Torres. Hossa scored twice and added an assist.

"I tried to keep it simple, especially in the beginning," he said. "Nothing too fancy. Keep it to short shifts [and] try to get into it. I hadn't played in a long time … after the concussion. The timing isn't there yet but it's going to come with the games."

Coyotes: Phoenix did a lot of things right in its opener at Dallas. The Coyotes outshot the Stars 40-26, scored twice on the power play and got a pair of goals by Radim Vrbata, who will have to carry more of the offensive load this season after Ray Whitney signed with Dallas as a free agent. But the Coyotes had no answer for Jaromir Jagr, who scored two goals and set up the other two in the 4-3 victory.

The Coyotes didn't look much like the disciplined, defensively responsible club that came within two wins of the Stanley Cup Final last spring.

"Well, it was the first game," Vrbata said. "Everybody knew the first couple games there would be mistakes made. Those were mistakes that we don't usually make as a team. Hopefully we will learn from that."

Injury report: Chicago forward Dan Carcillo left Saturday's game with a lower-body injury and didn't return. All coach Joel Quenneville would says is that Carcillo "os going to miss some time." … Torres has seven games remaining on the suspension he received last spring for his hit on Hossa.

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