Season series: This is the first of three meetings and the first of two in Vancouver. The teams split the four-game series in 2011-12, with the Coyotes winning the finale on March 15 via a 5-4 decision in Vancouver.
Big story: Both teams are coming off road losses and will look to get to back on track in the Western Conference race. The Coyotes, fourth in the talent-laden Pacific, sit ninth in the West with 19 points. The game against Vancouver marks the third in four nights for Phoenix.The Canucks, 5-2-2 at home, are tops in the Northwest Division and third in the West with 24 points.
Coyotes: Raffi Torres scored two goals, and Michael Stone and Nick Johnson also scored for the Coyotes in a 5-4 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday at Scotiabank Saddledome. Phoenix is 0-1-1 on a three-game trip through western Canada that ends with this game vs. Vancouver.
Torres is off to a strong start since making his season debut on Feb. 2. He has notched at least one point in three of his last four games and his four goals are tied for second most on the team. In addition, he has notched 14 goals and five assists in 36 career games vs. Vancouver, which is his highest scoring total against any NHL opponent. Torres, of course, spent the 2010-11 campaign with the Canucks and totaled 29 points in 80 games.
Goalie Mike Smith, who is 2-2-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average in his past five starts, leads all NHL goaltenders with 11 shutouts since the start of last season.
Johnson is set to play in his 100th NHL game tonight. He has notched 14 goals and 23 assists in his first 99 career games.
Canucks: Daniel Sedin had two goals, and Chris Higgins also had a goal but the Canucks dropped an 8-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Roberto Luongo, who shut out the Nashville Predators on Friday, gave up all eight goals on 28 Detroit shots. Luongo entered the game with a 1.45 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, but when it was over he sported a 2.11 GAA and .916 save percentage.
"It's one of those games where it felt like the puck was finding its way in on almost every shot," Luongo said after the game.
Who's hot: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is tops on the team in assists with nine, and co-leading the team with 12 points. He also is team leader in average ice time (25:07), shifts per games (30.1) and plus/minus rating (+7). ... Canucks center Henrik Sedin has two goals and 11 points in the past eight games.
Injury report: The Coyotes have been shorthanded without injured forwards Radim Vrbata (lower body) and Martin Hanzal (upper body), and injured defensemen Derek Morris (upper body) and David Schlemko (upper body). … For the Canucks, forward David Booth (illness) and defenseman Kevin Bieksa (lower body) are day-to-day, and center Manny Malhotra (eye) is out.
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