Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Phoenix Coyotes return home from a 4 game road trip to face off against the Vancouver Canucks as both teams look to gain points to move up in the standings.
Despite a great effort from Phoenix Coyotes Captain Shane Doan, the team was unable to score a win in their back to back games against the Los Angeles Kings and they finished their 4 game road trip with only 1 of a possible 8 points. The Yotes are back at home and hoping to get things on track with a win against the visiting Vancouver Canucks tonight.
If there was good thing to come out of the last game against the LA Kings it's that the Phoenix Coyotes finally broke their franchise record scoreless drought that had been plaguing them for what seemed like forever. Luckily the team played fairly well during that stretch, despite the lack of offensive production, so if the offense problem has been solved it’s likely the Desert Dogs are going to play a good game this evening.
For the first time in a while the Vancouver Canucks are not leading the Northeast Division. You can bet that they are hungry to reclaim that spot. Vancouver has not done great this past month, falling to teams that they probably should have beat like the Calgary Flames or the Detroit Red Wings, while only managing to score 3 or more goals 3 times this month. However, they did manage to score 7 goals against the Nashville Predators, so their offense hasn’t been completely nonexistent.
Five For Winning:
1. Score. Now that the Coyotes have ended the goalless streak the floodgates are free to open and they are free to light lamp again and again.
2. Discipline. The referees don’t seem to be cutting the team any slack, although this could be a league wide problem, but either way the Coyotes need to not take any stupid penalties, or preferably any penalties.
3. Power play unit. The Coyotes have had difficulties converting on the man advantage, and it has been costing them. With Radim Vrbata back in the lineup hopefully the team can find the back of the net when the other team is in the box.
4. Play to the crowd. There aren’t many unsold seats left in Jobing.com Arena, something we don’t normally say for a weekday game against a non-rival team. Being as the Coyotes are coming off a long road trip it should be good for the team to play for a crowd that is cheering for them.
5. Win. The Coyotes need the points to move back into a playoff position and although this won’t be an easy task it is an important one.
Players To Watch:
Radim Vrbata returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing a large portion of the season with a broken foot. Now that he is back he is free to be the offensive leader that the Coyotes desperately need him to be.
Henrik Sedin leads Vancouver in scoring and has points in 3 of the past 5 games and is 8-20-28 on the season. You should also keep an eye on his brother Daniel who has points in 3 of the past games and is a 9-18-27 on the season.
Likely Starting Goalies:
Mike Smith has been playing good, probably not as good as he was last season but good enough to potentially win games if the offense shows up. As much as the team needed to score though Smitty needs a win and this will hopefully be the night.
Vancouver has a problem that plenty of teams would love to have, they have two incredible goaltenders. The Canucks seem to be playing both about equally and since Cory Schneider was in net for the most reason win against the Blues, he could get the tap to start.
Coyotes Zbynek Michalek will likely sit out again with his lower body injury.
Canucks Ryan Kesler is out indefinitely with foot injury and Manny Malhotra is on the injured reserve list.