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Arizona Coyotes vs Vancouver Canucks Preview: The Canadian Road Trip Continues

The Arizona Coyotes head to Vancouver for the first time this season and take on the Vancouver Canucks for the second time this year.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes went to their first shootout of the 2015-16 season last Saturday and came up short. Tonight they get a chance to face off against the only Pacific Division team that has beat them in regulation, as they head to Vancouver to play the Canucks.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes

Vancouver Canucks

Points

40 (2nd Pacific)

39 (4th Pacific)

Goals For

2.82 (6th)

2.36 (26th)

Goals Against

3.18 (30th)

2.77 (21st)

Power Play %

16.8 (24th)

16.0 (28th)

Penalty Kill %

79.0 (21st)

78.9 (22nd)

5v5 Corsi For %

46.8 (27th)

47.6 (22nd)

PDO

101.4 (6th)

99.9 (T-19th)

View from Vancouver

For the Vancouver perspective, check out Nucks Misconduct

Like everyone not named the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division, the Canucks are not playing well this season and have been pretty disappointing. Perhaps most telling is the alternate title for Vancouver's last win on Nucks Misconduct "Canucks win for the first time when trailing after 2 periods".

There aren't too many surprises when looking at the Canucks roster this season. The Sedins lead the pack with Daniel Sedin at 16-21-37 in 39 games and Henrik Sedin at 9-24-33 in 37 games. After that there is a pretty stark drop off, with Jannik Hansen at 12-10-22. Hansen is a bit of surprise, he is in his sixth season full time with the Canucks and is on pace for career highs in goals and points.

View from Arizona

The Coyotes have been up and down this season, although their shootout loss was probably one of the most 2015-16 Coyotes games of the season. They were outshot, they took a fair amount of penalties, and the rookies were involved in every goal, which could be the description for most Coyotes games this year. Jordan Martinook and Klas Dahlbeck both had two assists and Anthony Duclair and Max Domi had a goal and an assist, respectively.

Although its a relatively small sample size, Louis Domingue is making the most out of his call up with the big club. He currently is 3-2-2 with a .926 5v5 save percentage. It remains to be seen whether or not his strong play will continue, but he seems to be doing a lot right for the Coyotes.

With the Pacific Division as tight as it is the Coyotes are going to need every win they can get, especially against a division rival. If Vancouver wins in regulation tonight they will overtake the Yotes for second in the Pacific. However the Coyotes have the regulation/overtime win advantage, so if they lose in overtime they will remain in second.

Keys to the Game

  • Special Teams. In the Yotes last four games there has been at least one power play goal scored in each game, The goals have been fairly important ones too; Jordan Eberle's gave the Oilers the lead, Jarome Iginla's openned the scoring for the night and was Colorado's loan goal, Viktor Tikhonov and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both scored power play goals that gave the Yotes a lead against Winnipeg, and Chicago's three power play goals in first ultimately set the pace for the Coyotes 7-5 loss.

  • Shots, shots, shots, shots. Another important thing that happened in the Coyotes last four games is they were outshot every game except one. In the past games they have been outshot 145-120, which is not a recipe for scoring games and winning games.

  • Win. If the Coyotes want to maintain a playoff spot they need to do what they have done best this season, win against one of their Pacific Division rivals. A regulation win is the best outcome but any win is important.

Players to Watch

Max Domi has primary assists in his last two games, as well as an unsuccessful shootout attempt against the Edmonton Oilers. He is currently in a bit of a scoring slump and doesn't have a goal since December 4th against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Canucks don't have a player that has been particularly hot lately. They have had one goal in their past two games and they don't have a player that has been consistently scoring. Alexandre Burrows had a primary assist and the game winning shoot out goal against the Anaheim Ducks and should be scoring more then he has this season.

Injury Report

Mike Smith and Joe Vitale are both on the injured reserve and are not going to be playing in tonight's game. Zbynek Michalek, Boyd Gordon, and Martin Hanzal are all questionable for tonight's game with upper body injuries.

Brandon Sutter, Christopher Tanev, Dan Hamhuis, and Luca Sbisa are all out on injured reserve. Ryan Miller, Sven Baertschi, and Brandon Prust are all questionable for tonight's game.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will be at 8:00pm Arizona time. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona and also will be on ESPN PHX 620 AM.