A week ago today, the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks faced off at Gila River Arena. The Canucks won that game, beating the Coyotes 5-1. Tonight, they face each other again in Vancouver on the Coyotes’ final Canadian road trip of the season.
The injury bug has taken a big bite out of the Arizona Coyotes, but they got a few unexpected reinforcements on Tuesday. Fans knew to expect Nathan Smith after he signed his two-year ELC, but Jack McBain also made his debut, and J.J. Moser made his return. Moser hadn’t played since March 15th, and McBain has been dealing with an ankle injury.
The Coyotes played half a good game against the New Jersey Devils. They had a good enough first period, and though they stumbled in the second, they managed to tie it with a late power play goal. Unfortunately, the Devils responded with two quick goals in the final minute and two more goals in the third period.
Arizona has had problems finishing this season, and that problem probably isn’t getting sorted with nine games left. But if the Yotes can keep digging deep and play a full 60 minutes, they could play spoilers tonight.
The Vancouver Canucks are in a difficult position. They only have eight games left in the season, and they are six points out of a playoff spot. To make matters worse, they have been dealing with some key injuries.
But despite all that, the Canucks haven’t given up yet. Last week’s 5-1 win over the Coyotes was the second game of a four-game win streak, with two wins over the Vegas Golden Knights and a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. The win over Vegas did come in overtime, which isn’t ideal for the Canucks, but two points are still better than nothing.
The Canucks’ offense has been heating up as the season expires, and they have scored four or more goals in four of their last five games. Arizona did a great job at keeping the Devils from scoring on the power play on Tuesday, but the Devils still found a way to score not long after the penalty expired. Unfortunately for the Desert Dogs, the Canucks have a much better power play. Vancouver’s power play is ninth in the league, and they had two power play goals Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights. They also had two when they beat the Coyotes last week.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - With Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse, the Coyotes’ offense has come chiefly from Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ last game and had the Yotes’ lone goal the last time they played the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver: Bo Horvat - Horvat hit the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career this season and comes into tonight’s game riding a five-game point streak. He had a goal and an assist in the Canuck’s last game and two goals and an assist the last time he played the Coyotes.
Arizona: Jay Beagle (questionable, illness), Clayton Keller (leg), Lawson Crouse (hand), Christian Fischer (lower body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Antoine Roussel (lower body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Vancouver: Brock Boeser (questionable, arm), Tucker Poolman (questionable, head), Tanner Pearson (upper body), Matthew Highmore (upper body), Nils Hoglander (groin), Michael Ferland (concussion), Brandon Sutter (COVID-19), Brady Keeper (leg)
Tonight’s game will be in Vancouver and will start at 7:00 pm Arizona time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM.