Canucks host streaking Coyotes in Vancouver
The Phoenix Coyotes will try to push their longest winning place Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena.
The Coyotes, who are holding onto the eighth seed in the West with 62 points, are on their first five-game win streak since March 10-18 of last year. Phoenix also last won six straight in 2010-11, when it went on an eight-game tear from Feb. 5-22.
Phoenix posted its most recent victory Saturday in a 3-0 decision against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Mike Smith stood tall between the pipes for the Coyotes, making 38 saves to record his third shutout of the season and 14th of his career.
Smith turned aside 10 shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 16 in the third for the shutout. Phoenix also stopped Chicago from scoring on three power-play opportunities.
"My teammates did a great job in front of me tonight," Smith said.
Radim Vrbata scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season for the Coyotes, who are just two points ahead of Calgary and Colorado in the West standings. Boyd Gordon and Kyle Chipchura also scored in the win.
Ray Whitney added an assist to push his point streak to eight games. Vrbata has reached the scoresheet in seven straight.
After playing tonight in British Columbia, Phoenix will visit Los Angeles on Thursday to complete a two-game trip. The Coyotes are 13-11-4 as the road team this season.
The Canucks are second in the Western Conference with 74 points and also hold a 14-point edge atop the Northwest Division. Vancouver had a three-game winning streak halted with Saturday's shootout loss in Calgary, but the Canucks have gained a point in nine straight contests (6-0-3).
After getting robbed on a breakaway late in regulation, Calgary's Jarome Iginla was able to post the decisive goal of the shootout in the Flames' 3-2 win over the Canucks at the Saddledome. Iginla was robbed by the glove of Roberto Luongo on a break with 2:06 remaining in the third period, but the Calgary captain converted in the third round of the penalty-shot tiebreaker, scoring on a backhand-forehand deke.
Luongo finished with only 16 saves for the Canucks, while Cody Hodgson and David Booth recorded the goals for Vancouver, which completed a four-game road trip with a 3-0-1 mark.
"I thought we played a really good game tonight from start to finish. This was probably our best game of the road trip and we lost," said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Canucks are back home for three straight and they are 15-6-4 as the host this season. Vancouver will also welcome Colorado and Toronto during this residency.
Vancouver has won three of its last four meetings with the Coyotes and posted a 5-0 rout in Phoenix on Nov. 25 in the first encounter between the clubs this season. Cory Schneider recorded the shutout for the Canucks in that one with 21 saves.
Phoenix has won two straight at Rogers Arena, as it outscored the Canucks by a combined 8-1 margin in two trips to B.C. last season.