The first round series between the No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes and the No. 6 Chicago Blackhawks got ugly in Game 3, and now Andrew Shaw, Raffi Torres and Marian Hossa will all miss what is sure to be an emotionally charged Game 4 on Thursday. Phoenix leads the matchup 2-1, but there is no doubt Chicago fans and players will be fired up after Torres knocked Hossa unconscious with a vicious hit in the middle of the first period, leading to Hossa being carried off the ice on a stretcher before being taken to the hospital.
Torres has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL and is still awaiting his formal hearing with the league office, but the Hawks have to move on and try to get a win on Thursday. Sam Fels at Second City Hockey broke down the options in front of head coach Joel Quenneville:
While I wouldn't call it the nuclear option, the Hawks need four lines now. They can't be skating with 10-11 forwards, and that's what they do when Brandon Bollig is around. I know, he's been slightly more effective, I guess, the past two games, but if he can't be trusted with more than six minutes than there just has to be other solutions. I also know that with the level of shenanigans there's going to be a desire for a "cop". But this is the point in a series when all that has to be put aside, and only hockey considerations should come into play.
Which is why I will not be shocked if one Brandon Saad draws in as well. I know most likely it would be ahead of Hayes, which would be unfair to Hayes as he's spent most of the second half of the season with the team only to watch some kid just out of junior vault ahead of him. But we know how fond Q is of Saad already, and Saad comes in playing the best hockey of his life. It's worked before, PK Subban stepped right in the 2010 playoffs and changed the dynamic of the Canadiens in a hurry.
No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes at No. 6 Chicago Blackhawks
7 p.m. CT Thursday -- Game 4, Western Conference Quarterfinals | Coyotes Lead 2-1
National TV: TSN, CNBC, RDS2 | Local TV: Fox Sports Arizona Plus, CSN Chicago
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, visit Blackhawks blog Second City Hockey and Coyotes blog Five For Howling. For more NHL Playoffs coverage, head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.