Blackhawks vs. Coyotes preview: Raffi Torres faces Chicago for 1st time since suspension

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Raffi Torres will make his first appearance against the Blackhawks since administering a punishing blow on Marian Hossa during last season's first-round playoff meeting.

The Phoenix Coyotes (4-4-2) will host the Chicago Blackhawks (8-0-2) at Jobing.com Arena Thursday night.

It will be the second of three meetings between the two teams this season.

The most notable story line entering the contest is Raffi Torres making his first appearance against the Blackhawks since administering a punishing blow on Marian Hossa during last season's first-round playoff meeting.

Torres left his feet during the hit, which concussed Hossa and forced him to miss the rest of the series. Torres was suspended a total of 25 games for the action, but later had that total dropped to 21 games following an appeal by the NHL Players' Association.

On Wednesday, Torres explained he has a new perspective on how to play the game and understands that the best players in the league need to be protected. He also stated that he can't be running around like his head had been cutoff.

Regardless, some have speculated that the Blackhawks will want Torres to pay for taking out one of their best players and a member of the team might challenge him to a fight. This, of course, remains to be seen.

Hossa stated that he has moved on since the hit. In terms of statistical production, that certainly seems to be the case. Entering Thursday night, Hossa is tied with Patrick Kane for the team lead in goals (six) and is second on the club in total points (10).

Chicago enters the evening as the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss this season and holds sole possession of first place.

Thursday night's game is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m., ET and will be broadcast on CSN-Chicago and FS-Arizona.

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