— Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America
Game Day Recon #52 – Canucks @ Coyotes
The Canucks braved the elements to get the heck outta Dallas after a gritty win against the Stars. They’ve made their way to the normally warm Phoenix to play the second half of back-to-back games. So are the Coyotes, who lost last night in San Jose to the Sharks.
So which team is going to have more pep tonight in the desert?
Game Time: 6:30 PM PT
The Canucks are looking to avenge a loss to the Coyotes earlier this season at home. In fact, that loss on Nov 21st was somewhat of a tipping point for the Canucks. Following that loss, the Canucks proceeded to 18-1-3 in their next 22 games.
Something for the Canucks to watch tonight is the Coyotes’ ability to rebound from a loss from a loss. Phoenix is 9-4-4 following a loss. The Canucks have an impressive stat of their own – Vancouver is 5-1-2 in the second game of back-to-back games, while the Coyotes are 6-4-2. Another stat in the Canucks favour is that the Coyotes are only 5-5-3 when returning home from a road trip.
Lee Stempniak and Keith Yandle are clearly the Coyotes hottest players, as both are on decent runs with points lately. Stempniak has 11 points in his last 8 games, while Yandle has 7 points in his last 4. The Canucks have their own streaky players, as they welcome back the suddenly surging Mikael Samuelsson to the scoresheet again. Samuelsson has warmed up his wristshot and has phoned the back of the net again. And that has helped his team in general, as the Canucks have now won 3 in row. The Coyotes however have really slowed down after a great start, as they have gone 6-5-1 in their last 12 games, and have lost 3 of their last 4. And it’s pretty clear that the sparse are starting to get to the team as well, as they are a mere 10-9-5 at home. That’s 24th in the league and the worst of any team currently in a playoff position.
So the stage is set for Vancouver to take one back from Phoenix as the Canucks’ siblings look on as they continue their road trip with their hockey family.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Special Teams. Sounds like a broken record, but look at how well it worked for the Canucks last night in Dallas. While the Canucks are in the top 5 in both PK and PP, the Coyotes are 22nd in both.
2. Stop Yandle. All-Star Keith Yandle is the Coyotes leader in assist and points. The Coyotes don’t have a really strong goal scorer (Scottie Upshall is their goal leader with 15), so they score by committee with 8 players scoring 10 or more goals. The Canucks only have 6, by the way.
3. Take the Second period. The Coyotes, who are a sound defensive team, actually give up quite a few goals in the 2nd period. If the Canucks can put their own goal-scoring woes in the frame to the side, they may be able to bury Phoenix who, as mentioned before, also played last night.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Coyotes (canucks.com)
2. A rested Luongo raring to go against Coyotes (Vancouver Sun)
3. Hodgson takes a lot from first game in the bigs (The Province)
4. Canucks, Coyotes streaking in different directions (CBC Sports)
5. Canucks/Coyotes Preview (Yahoo! NHL)