Saturday, March 21, 2009

Canucks/Coyotes Game Day

The Canucks (38-23-9) open up a six game road trip tonight in the Arizona desert against the Phoenix Coyotes (29-35-7). This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two clubs. Vancouver posted a 1-0 win at home Nov. 6 and a 4-3 win at the Jobing.Com Arena Feb. 12. The Coyotes lone win came at GM Place Jan. 15 when they skated away with a 4-1 decision. Kevin Bieksa (2g,1a), Daniel Sedin (1g,2a), and Sami Salo (2a) lead the Canucks in head-to-head scoring while Joakim Lindstrom (2g), Keith Yandle (1g,1a), and Steven Reinprecht (1g,1a) lead the Coyotes. Roberto Luongo has allowed seven goals on 88 shots, good enough for a 0.920 save percentage while Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed six against on 96 shots (0.938%).

Having won 11 straight on home ice, the Canucks are currently riding a three-game road losing streak. They are currently the hottest team in the NHL in their last 20 games (16-3-1). They have also been solid on the penalty kill, allowing just four goals against in 35 short-handed situations in their last six games.No line-up changes are expected following their 3-0 win over the St.Louis Blues on Thursday.

The Coyotes are a much different looking hockey club compared to the last time they played Vancouver. Phoenix collected just six points in February and have already reached that mark in March. They currently are in 14th spot in the West (65pts) and are just one point ahead of Colorado.

They currently rank 27th overall in the NHL in both the power play and the penalty kill. They've also been very poor against teams in the Northwest Division (6-10-1). Bryzgalov has been their best performer of late, stopping 129 of 138 shots in his last four games.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams for tonight's game:


D.Sedin - H.Sedin - Burrows
Demitra - Sundin - Kesler
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Hordichuk - Johnson - Pyatt

Mitchell - Salo
Ohlund - Edler
Bieksa - O'Brien



Shane Doan - Kyle Turris - Peter Mueller
Scottie Upshall - Matthew Lombardi - Petr Prucha
Daniel Winnik - Martin Hanzal - Viktor Tikhonov
Nigel Dawes - Steven Reinprecht - Mikkel Boedker

Ed Jovanovski - Ken Klee
Kurt Sauer - Zbynek Michalek
Dmitri Kalinin - Keith Yandle

Illya Bryzgalov
Josh Tordjman

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