Crawford starts, injuries plague Hawks against Coyotes

Crawford starts, injuries plague Hawks against Coyotes
April 20, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Corey Crawford will get the start but the Chicago Blackhawks will still be missing a few bodies when they host the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at the United Center.

Ray Emery is out again with a lower-body injury, so Carter Hutton will back up Crawford tonight. Patrick Sharp is also out, as is defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said all of the Blackhawks, including the current injured parties, will travel to Western Canada tomorrow.

Quenneville is hoping Sharp can play on that trip.

Meanwhile, Crawford is coming off a shaky game against the Nashville Predators on Friday night. Quenneville, though, had figured Crawford would get the back-to-back this weekend.

“Going down the stretch here, with Ray not playing, we’re looking for him to do what he has to do,” Quenneville said. “Be solid in the net, and get a win in front of him.”

The Blackhawks are coming off a 5-4 victory over the Predators in which their power play finally awoke from its slumber. They scored on two of three advantages on Friday night, including the game-winner via Marian Hossa. Quenneville hopes this leads to more.

“It started where it wasn’t a problem. Then the confidence, patience and play recognition eroded there,” Quenneville said of the power-play drought. “You could feel the whole group there, when we scored, felt more comfortable. It was very timely. We’ll see how it goes today.”

The Blackhawks host a Coyotes team that’s fighting for its playoff life. Currently 11th in the West with 44 points, the Coyotes have some work to do if they want to get to No. 8, currently occupied by Columbus (49 points).

Mike Smith is expected to start for the Coyotes.