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Arizona Coyotes go back to work versus the Vancouver Canucks

The Arizona Coyotes play their second game of the weekend Sunday night when they take on the Vancouver Canucks.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have played nine of their last ten games on home ice. The final one before a quick East Coast road trip will be tonight, as Arizona takes on the Vancouver Canucks.

Matchup at a Glance

Vancouver Canucks Arizona Coyotes
Points 86 (2nd Pacific) 50 (7th Pacific)
Goals For 2.80 (12th) 1.99 (29th)
Goals Against 2.68 (20th) 3.25 (28th)
Power Play 17.3% (20th) 20.2% (7th)
Penalty Kill 85.5% (3rd) 78.4% (26th)
5v5 SAT 49.7% (T-20th) 49.0% (22nd)
SpSV% 100.3 (T-14th) 96.8 (30th)

View from Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks are 6-3-2 in their last ten, which is a respectable total for a team trying to make a push for the playoffs. Unfortunately, that's not enough to gain some separation in the Pacific Division, as they sit only four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who are on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

Vancouver continues to make their way towards the playoffs without the services of Ryan Miller. Eddie Lack has played well, but his backup (and tonight's starter), Jacob Markstrom, has had a very rough stint in his limited NHL time this year. In two appearances, and has stopped three of six shots faced in just under 20 minutes of ice time.

View from Arizona

Mike Smith's solid play Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins was marred by a very unfortunate goal off of the backside of Brandon Sutter. Smith has not been the problem for the Coyotes in the month of March, which is good news for the Coyotes going into the 2015-16 season.

What has been a albatross on the Coyotes has been their inability to score. Arizona did not score at even-strength or with the man-advantage versus Pittsburgh, a team that had lost four straight and was struggling to stay out of the penalty box. The team did score a shorthanded goal, but opportunistic goals are much harder to come by compared to goals produced as part of systemic offensive pressure.

Keys to the Game

  • Make Markstrom's Life Hard - For whatever reason, Jacob Markstrom has not been able to figure out the NHL. Arizona may not get a better chance to score multiple goals than tonight.
  • Good Work in the Neutral Zone - Zone entries in both directions are particularly important to minimizing scoring chances against and generating scoring chances for. The Coyotes need to force Vancouver to dump and chase as often as possible while Arizona needs to fight to carry puck in as much as possible.
  • Work the Winning Formula - Arizona's last victory was against this Canucks team. In that game, they were fundamentally sound on defense and made the most of their forecheck. If they can replicate tonight what they did on Throwback Night, they can win.

Who's Hot

With a goal last night, Daniel Sedin now has two goals and two assists in his last four games. His stat line is eerily similar to his brother Henrik's: both have 46 assists, and were tied with 15 goals before last night.

Tobias Rieder appears to be the depth draft pick that winning teams need to contend. The former fourth round pick scored his third shorthanded goal of the season last night, and has had a hand (two goals and an assist) in three of the last five goals the Coyotes have scored.

Injury Report

Vancouver will not have Ryan Miller (leg) in net for the remainder of the regular season, while both Zach Kassian (back) and Brad Richardson (ankle) are not expected to play tonight.

Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal will not return for the rest of the season, while Martin Erat is considered questionable tonight after missing yesterday's game.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 5 PM Arizona time. You can see the game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, or listen on 92.3 KTAR FM.