By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to keep pace in the crowded Western Conference playoff race tonight when they play the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (34-23-10) will enter the game in seventh place in the conference standings and looking to build on a dramatic, come-from-behind win over Detroit on Saturday. The Coyotes scored three unanswered goals in the third period to force a shootout, then beat the Red Wings on a goal by Radim Vrbata
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to see the standings for both conferences.
Tonight's game will be the first of two games against Vancouver, aka the NHL’s best team, within a 10-day span. Phoenix plays at the Canucks on March 18.
The Coyotes are seeking redemption after losing to the Canucks, 6-0, the last time the teams played in Glendale on Feb. 2. Asked what his team needs to do differently this time around, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett was succinct.
"They scored six (goals) and we scored none, so I'd say a good place to start is to don't give up six and score more than none,” he said.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Bryzgalov is 0-1-1 vs. Vancouver this season with a 3.76 goals-against average and a .879 save percentage in two games.
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
, who left Saturday’s game in the second period because of a lower-body injury, practiced with teammates on Monday.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Coyotes will need all hands on deck against the Canucks (42-16-9), who lead the NHL with 93 points – seven more than any other team.
Tonight’s game is the third for Vancouver on its current five-game trip. The Canucks are 2-0-0 thus far having outscored Los Angeles and Anaheim by a combined score of 6-1.
Vancouver ranks second in the NHL in power-play efficiency (23.8) and penalty-killing efficiency (86.6).
Daniel Sedin is tops in the NHL with 81 points and his twin brother Henrik, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, is tied for third with 76.
Roberto Luongo, who won his 300th NHL game in his most recent start vs. LA, is expected to start in goal tonight. Luongo is 1-1-0 vs. the Coyotes this season with a 1.52 GAA and a .941 save percentage.