By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Coyotes begin a three-game homestand tonight against the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (24-13-3) will be trying to win its 10th consecutive home game, which would set a franchise record. The Coyotes are 15-5-0 at home this season, and confidence is high inside their dressing room.
"We feel that if we play the way we're capable of playing we can beat anybody and that's a great feeling to have," captain Shane Doan said. "We feel that it doesn't matter what building we go in to, where we're playing or who we're playing, if we play our best game we can win."
Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera, who grew up near Vancouver and who played for the Canucks briefly last season, will start in goal for Phoenix (see PODCASTS below). LaBarbera will enter the game with a 2-3-0 record and a 2.33 goals-against average.
Vancouver (23-16-0) has won three games in a row and has outscored opponents 13-3 in those victories.
Goalie Roberto Luongo is 3-0-0 in his past three starts and stopped 73 of the 76 shots he faced in those games.
The Canucks are the only team in the NHL that has yet to lose a game in overtime/a shootout. Just two of Vancouver's 39 games have gone beyond 60 minutes and the Canucks won both in shootouts.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan has regained his scoring touch. In the past five games, Doan has notched three goals and three assists. He leads the team with 25 points.
Canucks left wing Mason Raymond has scored eight goals in the past nine games, including three - his first NHL hat trick - on Sunday night to key a 5-1 win over Calgary.
This game is the first of four games between the Coyotes and Canucks this season. The teams split four games last season, with each team winning once and losing once on home ice. So, go figure.
The Coyotes have played five sets of back-to-back games this season. Tonight's game will cap the sixth set. So far, Phoenix is 3-1-1 in the second games of back-to-back games.
The Canucks again are led offensively by Henrik Sedin, who has 50 points. Henrik and his twin brother Daniel recently learned they would be playing for Sweden at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
"It's just good to get back in the lineup. We've been playing well as a group and we're all really coming into our own as a team. We've just got to keep building off what we've been doing."