Preview: Canucks at Coyotes
Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 1:32 PMSeason Series:
This is the second of three meetings. The Coyotes earned a 4-2 victory at Vancouver on Feb. 26.
Home may never look better to anyone the way it does to the Coyotes right now. Back in Phoenix for two games, they leave an 0-3-1 trip behind them, but they've won six of their last eight in Glendale.
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Phoenix will enter the game in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, two points out of a playoff spot.
That, and a winless four-game road trip (0-3-1), should be plenty of motivation for them to win this game in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd at Jobing.com Arena.
Captain Shane Doan is coming off a magnificent performance in a 3-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday, a game in which he notched two goals and a rare NHL double-double — 11 shots and 13 hits.
With three days without a game coming after this game, Mike Smith will start in goal again for Phoenix.
Note: CLICK LINK TO SEE HEAD COACH DAVE TIPPETT'S REMARKS AFTER THE MORNING SKATE
Some nights, a team has no choice but to ride a hot goalie. About the only consistent thing the Canucks had going on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues was Cory Schneider, who made 32 saves in Vancouver’s 3-2 victory. Fifteen of those saves came in the opening period, when the Canucks mustered only three shots on goal.
The win ended a personal three-game slide.
For coach Alain Vigneault, it simply reinforced what he has been saying all along, that this season would be a difficult one.
“We’ve known since Day One that this was going to be a huge challenge. Maybe other people did not know, or did not want to believe it, or did not see it,” Vigneault told the Vancouver Sun, “but I think within our staff and players, we knew this was going to be a real big challenge. Other than not thinking that Anaheim was going to come out the way they are, everything else is what I and we expected, and we’re in a real fun battle right now.”
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has allowed just seven goals in three straight wins against the Canucks. ... Roberto Luongo is the hotter goalie versus the Coyotes at least, winning two straight with a shutout and a 1.47 goals-against average over the stretch. Daniel Sedin has a goal and three assists in three games, and 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in his last 12 games against Phoenix.
Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) could be back by Monday, while forward David Moss (lower body) sat out Tuesday's game and remains day-to-day. ... Canucks forward Zack Kassian (back) logged only 2:48 of ice time in the first period Tuesday and did not return after getting in a fight with the Blues' Chris Stewart. Forward David Booth is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain, possibly for the season. Ryan Kesler (broken foot) is still weeks away.