Photo credit: faceoff.com
After a successful 4-game road trip, in which they went 3-1, the Vancouver Canucks are back at Rogers Arena to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Both teams played a month ago with the Coyotes winning in the shootout and Antoine Vermette getting the shootout winner.
The Canucks, who have won back-to-back games for the first time since the end of October, are looking to maintain some momentum as they start a 5-game home stand. They also hope to not lose any more players to injury as they’ve lost key players the last couple of games. Against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, Alex Burrows was hit by a puck and had to have surgery for a broken jaw; he and is expected to be out for at least a month. And against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Alex Edler suffered a knee injury and will be out indefinitely. Andrew Alberts will fill. *shudder*
The Coyotes currently occupy the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference. Thanks to the Edmonton Oilers, their lead on the 9th place Canucks is only a single point. Needless to say, tonight’s game is critical for the Canucks, as a win in regulation would push them back in a playoff position, although the Coyotes do have 2 games in hand.
Ryan Kesler is back in beast mode. He has 4 goals in 2 games, and his 14 goals so far this season is good for 8th in the entire league.
Defenseman Jason Garrison also seems to have shaken off his scoring slump. He has 4 assists in 2 games, and has recorded 3 multi-point games in his last 4. He now has 17 points this season, which is 14th among all NHL defensemen.
For the Coyotes, defenseman Keith Yandle has goals in back-to-back games. Captain Shane Doan, who is second with the team in scoring, has 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in his last 2 games.
Remember last week when we only had one player on injured reserve? Ah the good ol’ days. Unfortunately our injured reserve count has tripled. The 2 Alexes – Burrows and Edler – join Jordan Schroeder, who is still weeks from returning.
Phoenix will be without defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) and forward Lauri Korpikoski (upper body).