The Phoenix Coyotes are coming off an impressive home series where they won 3 straight, but they are leaving the comforts of Jobing.com Arena and heading north to face off against the Vancouver Canucks. The Coyotes are going to need to translate their success at home to success on the road though, which has been a struggle this season. So far the Coyotes are 4-8-5 on the road and are 1-2-2 in their past 5 road games. Being "sellers" doesn't seem to have diminished the Coyotes skills. Chris Conner and Chris Brown have been brought up to fill the holes with both players having 5 shots in the past 2 games and Conner scoring a goal last week against Detroit.
Vancouver has been on a roll lately, winning 8 of their past 10 games including their past 5 at home. At home, Vancouver is currently 12-5-3 this season and they won the previous game against the Coyotes 2-1. While the Coyotes are hoping to get a playoff spot, Vancouver is fighting to maintain control of the Northwest Division from Minnesota who has made a surprising push this season. Vancouver knows that they need to keep winning to maintain that spot, and it is likely this will only motivate them more against the Phoenix.
Five For Winning:
1. Score first. Scoring first seems to be a recipe for success for the Phoenix Coyotes, let's see if the Coyotes can do it again.
2. Discipline. It's important that the Coyotes stay out of the box and not give the Canucks a chance to score with the man advantage.
3. Special teams. So far the Coyotes have been impressive on the penalty kill, but they aren't getting the same effect on the power play. A power play goal or two would definitely increase the Yotes' chance of winning.
4. Limit Vancouver's shots. With the talent on the Canuck's team the Coyotes are going to need to find some way to stop Vancouver from scoring. If the Coyotes can limit the number of shots that the Canuck's take they can hopefully keep them off the board.
5. Win. At this point this is the most important thing.
Players To Watch:
With an a goal and an assist in the past two games, Martin Hanzal is on hot streak that will hopefully continue. At one point Martin Hanzal lead the teams in goals, before the team was hit with the injury bug, and if he continues with this pace he may regain that lead and the points lead too.
Henrik Sedin has 2 goals and 3 assists in his past 2 games and currently leads the team in goals, assists, points and plus minus. He also had a goal in the first game against the Coyotes, although he had nothing in the last game. Expect him to have a big impact on tonight's game.
Likely Starting Goalies:
Mike Smith played a perfect game against Colorado and he didn't allow a single goal. He was assisted by the team in front of him but he did his job in keeping the puck out of the net, made all the more impressive by the fact that this was his first game back from injury.
Cory Schneider seems to have become the starter for the Canucks after a brief experiment where they played both Schneider and Roberto Luongo.
Lauri Korpikoski is out with an upper body injury and did not make the trip.
Zbynek Michaek has been out with a foot injury however he did make the trip to Vancouver.
Keith Ballard is out with a foot injury and is questionable.
Ryan Kesler also has a foot injury that has fully healed but whether he will be in the lineup is also questionable.
Remember to come back later today for our game day thread and our post game coverage and you can head over to Nuck's Misconduct to check their perspective.