Coyotes Take Blackhawks' Best Shot, Hit Back With Physical Play Of Their Own

GLENDALE -- The Phoenix Coyotes held an early afternoon skate Friday at Jobing.com Arena, but only those who didn't play or played sparingly were on the ice, for the most part. The regulars had a long, taxing night Thursday, but they spoke to reporters. The theme of the day was how physical Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks was.

Speaking of physical, leading scorer Radim Vrbata is day-to-day, coach Dave Tippett said, with an "upper body injury." There's a sense he'll be available soon, if not Saturday for Game 2 then in subsequent games. The injury was the result of a hit mere moments into Game 1.

The line of Vrbata, center Martin Hanzal and Ray Whitney had to be adjusted, and it took a few minutes for the Coyotes to gather themselves after Vrbata left.

"I don't think it was anything crazy," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said of the rough play. "Obviously we try to play a physical game. We have a lineup that everybody can grind it out a little bit, but I don't think anybody was out there to kill anybody. I thought it was some really good hockey."

Goaltender Mike Smith said things could get more intense.

"That's just the time of the year it is. It's time to finish all the checks and block shots and it hurts to win," Smith said. "This time of the season is the most important time to put your body on the line to take hits and give hits and do everything you can to win the hockey game."

Left wing Raffi Torres knows the Blackhawks aren't panicking down 1-0 in the series. Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

"These guys know how to win and they've done it," Torres said. "We gotta know that they're going to come out flying the next game."

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