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Arizona Coyotes travel to face the Vancouver Canucks

For the last road game of the season, Arizona must face the playoff-bound Canucks.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the Vancouver Canucks already guaranteed a spot at the big table, tonight's game does not cast the Arizona Coyotes in the role of the spoiler.

While they were close to doing just that against Calgary on Tuesday night, they came up just short, falling 3-2. With no grand implications at play, Arizona still must travel to Rogers Arena for their last road game of the season.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes Vancouver Canucks
Points 56 (7th Pacific) 97 (2nd Pacific)
Goals for 2.1 (29th) 2.8 (11th)
Goals against 3.3 (28th) 2.7 (18th)
Power Play 20.6% (7th) 18.6% (15th)
Penalty Kill 77.2% (27th) 85.4% (2nd)
5v5 SAT 48.6% (22nd) 49.5% (20th)
SPSv% 97.3 (28th) 99.2 (25th)

View from Arizona

Arizona holds the regulation wins tiebreaker over Buffalo in the McDavid sweepstakes. So considering Buffalo needs three out of four possible points, while Arizona needs to lose out in regulation, the 29th spot in the standings is all but an inevitability. Thanks to Edmonton's upset over the Kings, the 28th spot is no longer on the radar, so at least there is some good news in the tanking landscape of things.

Thanks to his three point night on Saturday versus San Jose, Oliver Ekman-Larsson's 43 points now lead the team -- a spot previously held by the ghost of Keith Yandle, who scored 41 in 63 games before being traded. With 40 points, Sam Gagner also has a chance to outscore Yandle. With Vancouver being a middle-of-the-pack team in 5-on-5 defense, there's as good a chance as any that Gagner can reach that mark tonight.

View from Vancouver

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After two consecutive losses and subpar possession performances in five straight games, Vancouver was able to rebound with a Monday night shootout win over Los Angeles. With their playoff ticket clinched and the potential return of starting goaltender Ryan Miller, the Canucks hope to use tonight's game as an opportunity to refine their game, as they prepare to pursue a Stanley Cup.

The Canucks are just two points ahead of the Calgary Flames for second in the Pacific, so a win tonight could help them secure home ice advantage in the first round. So while not a "must-win" game for them, there is still a good deal to play for in Vancouver.

Keys to the Game

  • Stay Out of the Box - Arizona has been bit by the penalty bug recently. Games aren't won from the penalty box.
  • 5-on-5 Play - While a middle-of-the-road team at even strength, Vancouver utilizes their space well on the penalty kill, as evidenced by their NHL-second-best penalty kill. There will be no gifts on the man advantage.
  • Score from the Top of the Lineup - On Tuesday, Arizona's two goals were scored by BJ Crombeen and Craig Cunningham -- both bottom six guys. A little extra help from the top six will certainly help the offense overall.

Who's Hot

It took 17 games, but Craig Cunningham finally scored his first goal as an Arizona Coyote Tuesday night, as part of a two-point performance versus Calgary.

A tap of the stick to Radim Vrbata, who reached the 30 goal plateau for the second time in his 12-year NHL career. The other time? 2011-12 with the then Phoenix Coyotes.

Injury Report

In addition to Martin Hanzal (back) and Mikkel Boedker (spleen), Arizona will be without Lauri Korpikoski (facial laceration) and potentially Shane Doan, who left Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury. He is officially listed as questionable.

For Vancouver, out indefinitely are wingers Brad Richardson and Zach Kassian, as well as Ryan Miller, who is ruled out for the rest of the regular season.

Puck Drop

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Arizona time from Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Fox Sports Arizona will broadcast the game as well as 92.3 KTAR.