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Hockey, Sports

Canucks hit the road against Coyotes in Arizona

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Bailey Meadows Nov 23, 2016 3:59 am 206

After going 2-1-1 on their four-game homestand, the Vancouver Canucks take to the road for the next three contests. Tonight they take on the Arizona Coyotes, a team the Canucks just beat on Thursday night.

Matchup

Vancouver Canucks (7-10-2, 16 points) vs Arizona Coyotes (6-9-2, 14 points)

Venue: Gila River Arena, Glendale

Time: 7 pm PT

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

By the numbers

Canucks Coyotes
Goals For 2.11 (29th) 2.53 (19th)
Goals Against 3.16 (25th) 3.29 (29th)
Power play % 12.3 (26th) 13.7 (24th)
Penalty kill % 83.3 (12th) 76.5 (28th)
Shots for 29.4 (17th) 28.2 (28th)
Shots against 28.5 (10th) 34.0 (30th)
Faceoff % 51.4 (7th) 48.0 (26th)

Lineup

Despite the recent call-up of 6-foot-5 winger Joseph Labate, the Canucks will ice the same lines they used against the Blackhawks on Saturday. Ryan Miller returns to the crease after Jacob Markstrom started the last three games while he battled the flu.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Sutter
Baertschi Horvat Burrows
Granlund Chaput Eriksson
Skille Gaunce Megna
Edler Stecher
Hutton Gudbranson
Sbisa Tryamkin
Miller

What you need to know

1. Rematch of the basement dwellers

The Canucks got the better of the Coyotes in their first meeting 3-2 in overtime with the winning goal coming on a penalty shot from Ben Hutton.

Not much has changed for either team since then; the Canucks are 28th in the league while the Coyotes are dead last. The Canucks come into this game having earned points in three of their last four, while the Coyotes are 1-0-2 in their last three – all ending in overtime.

After tonight, the two teams won’t play again until January.

2. Streakin’ Sedin twins

After a slow start offensively for both the Sedin twins and the Canucks as a whole, they’ve started to pick it up in the last few weeks. Daniel has been especially hot with nine points in his last eight games. That eight-game point streak is his longest since the 2010-11 season.

With Jannik Hansen out, Brandon Sutter has been getting the minutes on the Sedins’ wing, and he hasn’t wasted his opportunity. He’s got a goal in each of his last four games and has been firing a lot of pucks on net, now second on the team with 50 shots.

If the Canucks can keep getting production from their top line, they should be due for some wins, especially when (if) the secondary scoring starts coming.

3. Vrbata bouncing back

Who knew this guy could still play?

After a disastrous 27-point season with the Canucks last year, Radim Vrbata is proving he still has gas in the tank. His six goals leads all Coyotes, and his 12 points in 17 games ranks him second to only Max Domi for team scoring.

Vrbata didn’t score in Thursday’s game against the Canucks, but he did throw nine shots on goal, and a few others that hit the post or just missed. He was noticeably dangerous. Expect the same from him tonight.

4. Canucks goaltending woes?

In all the unpredictability of last season, the one thing the Canucks could always seemingly count on to be fairly steady was their goaltending. That sentiment carried into this season when both goaltenders started the season with stellar numbers and the Canucks had a 4-0 record.

Suddenly though, the numbers no longer support that storyline. Right now Markstrom has a 2.82 GAA and .897 save percentage in 10 starts. Miller’s statline isn’t any better with a 2.92 GAA and .899 save percentage.

That’s not to suggest they’ve been bad. The Canucks defence has made a habit of allowing high quality chances, and we’re starting to see the results of these high scoring chances.

Another reason the goaltender numbers are down is likely due to the fact that the Canucks have hardly played with the lead this season. Teams that are trailing tend to throw more shots on net, even if not from a quality scoring area, so Canuck goalies are missing out on some extra saves there.

Prediction

With neither team having played since Saturday, we could see a bit of rust to start this one as both teams find their legs.

Once they do, expect the Canucks to push the pace in Arizona and come away with a 4-2 win despite a goal from that pesky Vrbata.

See also

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Bailey Meadows
A BCIT grad who just can't get enough hockey. I do other stuff too, but it's not as cool as hockey.

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