By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to complete an undefeated four-game trip tonight when they play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
|Photo by Getty Images.
Phoenix (38-23-11) will enter the game in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 10 games left in the regular season.
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The Coyotes are 3-0-0 on this trip, with wins over Anaheim, Calgary and Edmonton. Phoenix has won four consecutive games overall, and has earned at least one point in six consecutive games (5-0-1).
The Coyotes will be looking to cap a second undefeated trip through western Canada this season. Phoenix beat the Flames, Oilers and Canucks, in succession, on Nov. 17-21.
, Ray Whitney
and Radim Vrbata
scored goals for Phoenix in a 3-1 win over Edmonton on Thursday night. That was the good news. The bad news was the Coyotes committed 11 penalties and managed just 17 shots on goal. A repeat of the latter statement won't cut it against Vancouver, the NHL's best team.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
, who made his 10th consecutive start on Thursday, will be rested tonight with a stretch of four home games in seven days looming next week. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera
, a native of British Columbia and a former Canucks goalie, last played on Feb. 23 when he gave up eight goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In four career starts vs. Vancouver, LaBarbera has posted a 3-1-0 record and a 2.69 goals-against average.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Vancouver (47-16-9) is cruising toward capturing the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history. The Canucks have 103 points, nine more than Philadelphia and Detroit with three weeks left in the regular season.
The Canucks have won seven games in a row and have scored at least three goals in all of those games.
NHL scoring leader Daniel Sedin and twin brother Henrik both have notched at least one point in each of the seven consecutive wins. Daniel leads the NHL with 92 points; Henrik is tied for second with 86.
Goalie Roberto Luongo has won his last four starts. He ranks third in the NHL in wins (33), goals-against average (2.23) and save percentage (.927).
Vancouver will play minus center Manny Malhotra, who was hit in the eye with a puck earlier this week and underwent surgery on Thursday. The Canucks will miss Malhotra in the faceoff circles; he ranks second in the NHL with a 61.7 percent success rate.