Phoenix Coyotes vs Vancouver Canucks Preview: Bounce back again

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

The Coyotes continue their western Canadian road trip against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 8 p.m. They are looking to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames

Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes are coming off back to back games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. They played a solid game against the Oilers, with plenty of offense, solid defense, and a win. The next night though they dropped the game against the Flames, while they scored first they couldn't keep the lead and the final score was 4-1.

The Coyotes play against the Flames left much to be desired, and although some of the Calgary goals were more deflections and luck then major defensive break downs, the team needed to show that they can come back from a deficit against one of the bottom teams in the NHL. In the past, the Coyotes have played up or down to their opponents, so we could see a better performance tonight against a much better Vancouver team.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are coming off wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators, both of which saw them score three goals, with a two day break between Nashville and tonight's game. This game will also be the start of a five-game home stint for the Canucks; one they are likely going to want to start strong.

While they are currently 5th in the Pacific Division, the Canucks could overtake the Coyotes for 4th if they win tonight's game in regulation. With a 5-5-3 record at home, Vancouver isn't exactly a force to be reckoned with though, especially since most of their wins came against teams lower than them in the standings like the Blue Jackets, the Maple Leafs, the Devils and the Oilers.

Team Rankings

Team Ranking

Phoenix Coyotes

Vancouver Canucks

Goals For

4th (3.14)

18th (2.63)

Goals Against

25th (3.14)

13th (2.50)

PP%

7th (21.2)

25th (14.1)

PK%

27th (76.9)

1st (89.0)

Keys to the Game

1. Solid defense. The Coyotes are still struggling to find consistently good defense. Keeping the Edmonton Oilers to two goals was great, letting Calgary score four, not so great. The fact that half of their top pairing is injured could be a contributing factor, if not for the fact they struggled before Z was hurt.

2. Discipline. Last time these two teams met the Coyotes had three penalties, including one too many men on the ice. Although historically the Coyotes have done a pretty good job at containing Vancouver's top line, they should not be giving the Sedins an opportunity to get a power play goal.

3. Special Teams. The Vancouver Canucks and the Phoenix Coyotes are completely opposite in terms of special teams this year. The Coyotes have had decent success on the power play, being a top-10 team, however their penalty kill has struggled. The Canucks on the other hand, haven't had a very good power play, but they are No. 1 in the league in the penalty kill.

Who's Hot?


Keith Yandle

#3 / Defenseman / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

190

Sep 09, 1986



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Keith Yandle 3 16 19 -6 12

Keith Yandle had an amazing goal against the Oilers and the lone goal against the Flames. Its good that we are getting offense from the defense and hopefully Yandle continues contributing.


Ryan Kesler

#17 / Center / Vancouver Canucks

6-2

202

Aug 31, 1984



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Ryan Kesler 14 8 22 -3 21

Ryan Kesler has two goals in each of the past two games with both of them being the game winners. The Coyotes are definitely going to need to find a way to contain him and his line.

Likely Starting Goaltenders


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Mike Smith 20 1171 12 3 57 2.92 667 610 .915 0

The Coyotes sat Mike Smith against the Calgary Flames, likely to give him rest for this game against a much tougher Vancouver Canucks team. In his last game against the Canucks, Mike Smith was solid stopping 31 of 33 shots for a .939 save percentage and he only allowed Vancouver to score once in a six-round shootout.


Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks

6-3

217

Apr 04, 1979



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Roberto Luongo 25 1453 12 8 57 2.35 661 604 .914 2

Even though many people did not expect him to still be in Vancouver, Roberto Luongo has been pretty solid for the Canucks. He has played in 25 games, has a .914 save percentage and 2.35 goals against which aren't great, but he also has two shutouts.

Injury Report

Zbynek Michalek and Lauri Korpikoski are still on the injured reserve list, although they have been skating more.

Alexandre Burrows has a broken jaw, Alexander Edler has a leg injury and Jordan Schroeder is out with an ankle injury.

Puck Drop

The game begins at 8 p.m. Arizona time and will be on KTAR 92.3 FM and Fox Sports Arizona Plus. Also feel free to head over to Nucks Misconduct to see their side of the game

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