By Dave Vest
The Coyotes tonight will play their final road game before starting a season-high six-game homestand when they square off against the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place. The puck drops at 8 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (26-14-4) will need to play a complete game if it hopes to beat Vancouver, which ranks second in the NHL with 17 home victories.
Slowing the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, again is atop Phoenix’s to-do list.
“You’ve just got to make sure you’re playing well against them," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "They’ve got (Alex) Burrows on their line now and I don’t know if he’s the third twin right now but he is benefitting. They’re just real good players and they read off each other so well. They’re dangerous. They create a lot of situations out of nothing.”
is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes. It will be Bryzgalov’s first game against Vancouver this season. Backup Jason LaBarbera
beat the Canucks, 3-2 in a shootout, on Dec. 29 in Glendale.
The Coyotes are hoping to get more production from their power play, which has struggled lately. Phoenix has scored just five goals on their past 39 power plays.
Phoenix again will play minus leading goal scorer Scottie Upshall
, who is nursing an upper-body injury back in Phoenix. Center Martin Hanzal
, who suffered a minor upper-body injury late in Tuesday's game at Edmonton, took part in Thursday's morning skate and is expected to play.
Vancouver (26-16-1) enters the game on a hot streak. In their past seven games, the Canucks are 6-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 29-13. Only the Coyotes have beaten them during this stretch.
Canucks Head Coach Alain Vigneault is expecting Phoenix to give his club a tough challenge.
"That game (on Dec. 29) was one of the hardest and most physical games we've had to play all year," Vigneault said. "They've got four very good lines that come at you hard and ... their defensemen are underrated. They move the puck well and jump up into the attack."
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo ranks seventh in the NHL with 22 victories and ninth with a 2.27 goals-against average.