Coyotes shoot for key road win against Canucks

After taking care of business at home, the Phoenix Coyotes need to collect some road wins down the stretch if they hope to make the playoffs.

The Coyotes kick off a three-game swing on Monday night with a matchup against the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks.

Phoenix swept a three-game homestand thanks to wins over Los Angeles, Detroit and Colorado and jumped into the ninth spot in the Western Conference. The Coyotes sit three points back of the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings with 10 games to play.

Seven of those will come on the road, where Phoenix is just 4-8-5 this season compared to 13-7-1 at home.

The Coyotes concluded their trip with a 4-0 victory over the Avalanche in Mike Smith's return to action.

Smith had missed the previous six games with an upper body injury, but made 24 saves to notch his fifth shutout of the season -- tied for the league lead -- and 24th of his career.

"I didn't want to go in tonight and be tentative," Smith said. "I wanted to go out there and do what I do."

Mikkel Boedker scored in the first period, while Martin Hanzal, Shane Doan and Boyd Gordon all notched goals in the second frame. Hanzal and Doan also had assists to stretch Phoenix's point streak to six straight games (4-0-2). The club's current three-game winning streak is a season high.

Phoenix will try to extend that run tonight and has won four of its last five in Vancouver.

The Canucks take aim at their third straight victory and won for the eighth time in their last 10 games with Saturday's 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alexandre Burrows combined for eight points, while Cory Schneider made 36 saves.

Vancouver is two points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the top spot in the Northwest Division.

Henrik Sedin scored once and notched the 600th and 601st assists of his career, while brother Daniel had three helpers. Burrows finished with a goal and an assist, while Dan Hamhuis, Dale Weise and Alexander Edler added goals.

"Hank, Danny and Burrows had some great shifts in their end and generated some scoring chances and some big goals," Schneider said. "Our best players were our best players tonight."

The Canucks wrap a three-game homestand with tonight's contest before playing their next five on the road.