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Coyotes Eager for Rematch with Canucks

Monday, 03.07.2011 / 6:03 PM / Features
By Anthony Perez
GLENDALE – After enjoying a day off on Sunday, the Coyotes reassembled for practice on Monday with collective eyes focused on Tuesday night’s home game against the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks.

Photo by Getty Images.
The game is important for two reasons. First, a victory by Phoenix would give the club two more points as it jockeys for position in the tight Western Conference playoff race. Second, the Coyotes want to redeem themselves after a humbling 6-0 defeat to the Canucks on home ice the last time these teams played on Feb. 2.

Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said he and his teammates remember the lopsided loss.

“I think it’s in the back of our minds,” Yandle said. “You really don’t forget things like that when you lose a game 6-0… It’s going to be a tough game. They have a great team and a great goalie. We definitely have to play our ‘A’ game.”

Since the 6-0 defeat to Vancouver, the Coyotes have posted a 9-4-1 record, including eight wins in a row immediately following the loss.

Forward Taylor Pyatt said Tuesday’s game presents a good opportunity for the Coyotes to see where they stand against an elite team.

“Vancouver has been at the top of the conference pretty much all season, so we’re just going to have to come out and play hard,” Pyatt said. “It’s always good to measure yourselves against those sorts of teams.”

The Canucks, per usual, are being led on offense by the Sedin twins. Daniel and Henrik have combined for 157 points so far this season. Others, such as Ryan Kesler (33 goals), Mikael Samuelsson (44 points) and Alex Burrows (39 points) also are contributing.

Photo by Getty Images.
The Canucks are playing solid defense, too. Thanks, in great part to goalie Roberto Luongo, Vancouver has given up just 155 goals in 67 games this season. Luongo has appeared in 50 games this season, compiling a record of 30-13-7, with a 2.21 goals-against-average, a .925 save percentage and three shutouts.

“We’ve got to get as much traffic around Luongo as possible,” Pyatt said. “He’s one of the top goalies in the league. So, we have to get the puck on net as much as possible in traffic and see if we can come up with a win at home.”

Forward Radim Vrbata said a key to not reliving what happened on Feb. 2 is for the Coyotes to play responsibly on both sides of the puck.

“All five guys on the ice have to do their work defensively and offensively,” Vrbata said. “During that eight-game stretch where we were winning, everything was clicking. That’s how we have to play.”

• Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris, who left Saturday's game after suffering a lower-body injury in the second period, practiced with teammates on Monday. 
 
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