Canucks, Coyotes battle for needed win

( - A pair of teams struggling to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race will aim for much-needed victories on Tuesday, as the Phoenix Coyotes welcome the Vancouver Canucks to Arena.

Vancouver is currently tied with Winnipeg for ninth place in the Western Conference and two points out of a playoff spot. The Coyotes are one point further back and three points removed from the eighth-seeded Dallas Stars.

Phoenix enters Tuesday's clash on a four-game slide and the Canucks have managed just one victory over their past 10 trips to the ice.

Vancouver emerged from the Olympic break by halting a seven-game losing streak with last Wednesday's 1-0 win over St. Louis, but the Canucks promptly lost their next two outings.

All told, the Canucks went 1-1-1 on a three-game homestand. The club dropped a shootout decision to Minnesota on Friday at Rogers Arena before getting handed a 4-2 loss by Ottawa in Sunday's Heritage Classic at BC Place.

In addition to their setback in the outdoor game, the Canucks also lost forward Daniel Sedin to a lower-body injury on Sunday after he was checked into the boards by Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot. Sedin's status for Tuesday's game is uncertain.

Sedin is tied with his twin brother Henrik for the team lead with 40 points this season.

Vancouver jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Sunday's game before the Senators scored four unanswered goals to take over the game.

Jason Garrison and Zack Kassian scored for the Canucks, while Eddie Lack turned aside 24-of-27 shots.

"I thought Eddie looked -- some of the things going on around him before the game, during the game, I thought he looked not himself, honestly, but he made some big saves," said Canucks coach John Tortorella.

The final outdoor contest this season felt more like an indoor game as the roof at BC Place, home of the CFL's BC Lions, was closed due to precipitation outside.

Beginning with tonight's tilt in Phoenix, the Canucks will play two straight and six of their next eight games on the road. Vancouver is 13-15-4 as the visiting team this season.

Three of Phoenix's losses during its current four-game slide have come since the end of the Olympic break and the club's last two setbacks both came by 4-2 scores.

After losing in Colorado 4-2 on Friday, the Coyotes lost by the same score Sunday against the visiting St. Louis Blues. Phoenix tallied one goal in each of the first two periods to hold a 2-0 edge after 40 minutes, but the Blues scored four unanswered goals in the third to win going away.

Paul Bissonnette and Jeff Halpern scored for the Coyotes. Mike Smith gave up four goals on 30 shots.

"We were up 2-0 and we didn't find a way to get that third one," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

Sunday's test kicked off a three-game homestand for Phoenix. The club is 17-11-3 in the desert this season compared to a 10-12-8 mark on the road.

Vancouver has split four games against the Coyotes this season and has claimed four of the past six encounters overall. Phoenix has claimed three of four at Arena.