NHL: Coyotes @ Canucks Preview
The Phoenix Coyotes are looking to end the three-game Canadian road trip on a high note as they take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
After a 6-2 trashing of the Edmonton Oilers to open up the trip, the Coyotes struggled against the Calgary Flames, losing 4-1. Everything that went right in the game against Edmonton went wrong against the Flames and if you watched both games you had a hard time believing it was the same team that was on the ice.
Tonight’s Pacific Divison match up against the Canucks is a battle of the No. 4 spot in the division. Coyotes are currently in the 4th spot with 36p and a record of 16-8-4. The desert dogs are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and they need to start winning consecutive games if they want to catch up to the California teams at the top of the division.
The Canucks are right behind the Coyotes with 35p and a 15-10-5 record. The team is on a two-game winning streak having beaten Carolina and Nashville earlier in the week. As usual when you talk about the killer whales from Canada, it’s all about the Sedin twins. Henrik (27p 7G 20A) and Daniel (26p 10G 16A) have both had a fine start to the season and are currently in 13th (Henrik) and 21st (Daniel) place in the league in scoring.
Keys for the Coyotes:
Forechecking: The Coyotes has to stay on the Sedins and not let them have any time on the puck as we all know the have that twin telepathy thing going. This starts by putting pressure on the Canucks defense and making it difficult for them to transition out of the defensive zone.
Puck movement: Puck and player movement is definitely something that was lacking against Calgary the other night, and if the Coyotes are going to have any chance of leaving Vancouver with 2p then the puck movement must be a lot quicker and smoother. The Canucks are ranked No. 1 on the penalty kill in the NHL, another reason why the Yotes need to move that puck if they get a chance on the power play.
Stay out of the box: The Coyotes penalty kill are among the worst in the league (27th) with a measly 76.9% so even if the Canucks aren’t the power play giants of old, it’s still vital that they stay out of the box. Hanzal has taken a couple of offensive zone penalties this season that coach Tippett can’t be too happy about.