When the Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks meet up tonight at Rogers Arena both team will be looking to put ugly losses behind them. The Coyotes blew their second late lead in as many days when they lost to the Calgary Flames on Sunday. Meanwhile Vancouver is attempting to recover from an 8-3 pasting by the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight will be the first meeting between the two squads since a 5-4 Coyotes win in British Columbia on March 14, 2012. The teams split last season's series with each team winning a game each on the road and at home. Two of the contests went to shootouts. This will be Phoenix's last game on the road before they return home for a 3 game home stand beginning Thursday.
Five for Winning
1. Defensive Lapses. The Coyotes have lost late leads the last two games due to poor execution in their own zone late in games. They need to clean things up or the goal lights in Vancouver may be working overtime.
2. Second line must be the top line. With the team's top 2 scorers out he past two games, the Coyotes depth players worked hard to get on the score sheet. The Boedker-Vermette-Doan line needs to find a way to get on the board. Their play has been better than their boxcar stats indicate, but right now their team needs them to finish.
3. Offense from #3. Prior to the road trip Keith Yandle looked to be heating up. Based on the games in Edmonton and Calgary it may have been a false alarm. Like the team's second line Yandle needs to find his way onto the score sheet.
4. Tie Up The Twins. Don't let the Sedins have time and space.
5. Shots. The Coyotes have struggled with possession and shooting their last two games. They need to find a way to keep the puck away from the opposition and put it on net consistently.
Players To Watch
|2012 - Shane Doan||18||4||5||9||-1||19||0||0||1||51|
|2012 - Ryan Kesler||6||1||3||4||-4||4||1||0||0||13|
Kelser returned from off-season shoulder and wrist surgery on February 15. He scored 2 goals and had 2 assits against the Coyotes last season.
Likely Staring Goaltenders
GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2012 - Mike Smith
|2012 - Mike Smith||14||783||6||5||35||2.68||375||340||.907||3|
Smith is again being forced to carry the load and his teammates aren't exactly doing him favors on the current road trip. The Yotes are being out shot and defensive lapses, not Smith's play have cost Phoenix. Smith had a .917 save percentage against the Canucks in 3 games last season.
|2012 - Cory Schneider||9||514||5||3||23||2.68||261||238||.912||1|
The Canucks have not announced a starting goaltender for tonight, but after Roberto Luongo gave up 8 goals against the Wings the safe bet is probably on Schneider. In addition, Schneider played lights out against Phoenix last season. He started two games and had a mind boggling .985 save percentage.
Martin Hanzal - Questionable (upper body)
Derek Morris - Questionable
Davis Schlemko - Out (upper body)
Radim Vrbata - Questionable (lower body)
Kevin Bieksa - Questionable (groin injury)
David Booth - Questionable (illness) - He practiced on Monday, so expect to see him in the lineup.