Momentum is an incredible thing, and when two teams that have it meet, the results can be spectacular. The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes have three combined regulation losses in their last 20 combined games, with Chicago being 7-1-2 and Phoenix being 8-2-0 during the same stretch.
There is a bit of a rivalry with the physical 2011 playoff series between the two teams still lingering. At the center of that is Marian Hossa, who was laid out on the United Center ice by the since-departed Rafi Torres. Now fully healthy, Hossa is on a magnificent stretch and is looking to continue that against the team which has done him so wrong.
Hossa is also coming off the birth of his daughter, and can hopefully keep the streak of games after childbirth going, much like his linemate Patrick Sharp.
And while it would be excellent to see Hossa go off, this game will more than likely be a more physical affair with the Blackhawks’ streak of four-plus goals likely to end. That being said, both Corey Crawford and Mike Smith will likely start and should create havoc for opposing offenses.
On the Blackhawks end, forward Jeremy Morin will make a return to the lineup on Thursday night. Morin has been benched for defenseman Sheldon Brookbank due to his lack of defensive prowess or intensity, and will likely see roughly 10 minutes on the third-line wing.
It is unclear, however, how long Morin will remain in the lineup as the Blackhawks wait on injuries. While Michal Rozsival is still in the lineup after taking a puck in the mouth, Brad Mills and Michael Kostka are close to returning from injury, which would likely force Morin out of a roster spot. The same optimism cannot be shared for Michal Handzus as the veteran center had a setback and was not seen skating at practice today.
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