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Blackhawks Start Playoffs Thursday In Phoenix

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane skates with the puck during against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 11, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane skates with the puck during against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 11, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Blackhawks start their playoff run on Thursday in Phoenix when they take on the Coyotes in the first game of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

The Coyotes host the Blackhawks at 9 p.m. Chicago time on Thursday.

Phoenix will also host Game 2 of the series on Saturday at 9 p.m.

The series then moves to Chicago for Game 3 at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, and Game 4 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19.

Game 5, if necessary, will be in Phoenix on Saturday, April 21, at 9 p.m. Game 6, if necessary, would be in Chicago on Monday, April 23. And Game 7, if necessary, would be in Phoenix on Wednesday, April 25.

The Blackhawks went 1-2-1 against the Coyotes during the regular season.

The team’s biggest question heading into Thursday is whether team captain Jonathan Toews will be able to return from a concussion, after missing 22 games at the end of the regular season.

Toews had been hoping to get in at least one final regular season game before starting the playoffs, but he missed Saturday’s finale in Detroit, which the Blackhawks won 3-2, in a shootout.

“It would’ve been nice to get him in a game, but Game 1 of the playoffs is way more meaningful than [this] game,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday.

“The status hasn’t changed unfortunately. I’m still progressing, I guess,” Toews said Friday. “It’s frustrating to have another game go by, but I don’t feel comfortable that [Saturday] is the right day to get back into it. It’s not fun to miss all those games, especially knowing it’s going to be tough to step back in and feel fresh and ready for the playoffs. I guess I don’t have a choice at this point. I have to make sure I’m ready to go when the time’s right.”

But Toews sounded confident he’d be ready to go in the playoffs.

“I have confidence and a positive outlook that things are going to go the right way and I’ll be ready for next week. I feel like I was very close to being ready to play [Thursday in Minnesota] or [Saturday], but now we’ve got four days or so before our next game, whenever that might be. I’m hoping that’s going to be the difference right there,” he said.

The Blackhawks went 13-5-4 in the 22 games that Toews missed with a concussion.

Click here to see the full schedule for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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