NHL: Coyotes – Canucks Preview
The Phoenix Coyotes welcome the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night to Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes are riding a four-game winning-streak and are currently in 3rd in the Pacific Division with 22 points in 15 games.
The visiting Canucks are in 4th in the Pacific Division, just a single point behind the Coyotes, but with one more game played. The Pacific Division is looking strong again, with five teams with 18 points or more.
Coyotes last game was a 3-2 shootout victory on the road against the San Jose Sharks. An impressive win for Phoenix, and a game that put them on the radar. The team deserves more recognition for what they do and with performances like what they’ve shown so far, national media can’t ignore them any longer. Radim Vrbata leads the team with 12 points (5 G 7 A) and behind him there are four players with 11 points.
The Canucks are coming off an nice 4-0 victory of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. And with the Sedin twins signed up for another four years, things are looking good for new coach John Tortorella. Vancouver has played really well on the road to start the season and are 6-2-1 on away ice. Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks with 19 points (3 G 16 A) and his brother Daniel is in second place with 16 points (7 G 9 A).
The Canucks have a good record in the desert. Vancouver have won five out of the six last meetings in Arizona. Look for the Sedins and Ryan Kesler to keep that streak alive.
Keys of the game for the Coyotes:
Stay out of the box. The Coyotes took six minor penalties against the Sharks, they need to stay out of the box against Vancouver as you don’t want to give the Sedins any more room on the ice.
Block shots: Mike Smith is facing over 30 shots per game and against San Jose he had 48 saves and a total of 50 shots against him. The Coyotes need to get in the lane and block more shots and break up more plays, because in the long run you can’t afford to allow that many shots each night.
Neutralize the Sedins: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michalek will most likely be the defensive pairing that will log most of the ice-time when the Sedins are on for Vancouver. The twins are nifty and seem to find each other with insane passes (twin telepathy?). In order to secure a victory tonight the Coyotes must shut down the Sedins.