After Ray Whitney decided to take his talents to Dallas this past off-season, the Coyotes were left with a big hole in their offense. Whitney had a team high 77 points (24G-53A) last season, so without his production players like Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan were expected to carry the offensive load.
Courtesy of Christian Petersen
To say that the Coyotes have struggled to score as of late is an understatement. They have not won in their last 4 games (0-3-1) while being shut out in 3 of those 4 games and outscored 11-2 altogether. In fact, the Coyotes went a franchise record 245:30 minutes of scoreless hockey before Shane Doan scored in the 3rd period in their last game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The notion of peppering shots on goal but not getting results is all too familiar for Canucks fans. And although the Canucks’ scoring troubles aren’t quite as bad as the Coyotes’ at the moment, there is still cause for concern – the Canucks have scored 2 or less goals in 9 of their last 12 games.
This is the second meeting between the two teams. By current standards, their last meeting in February was a “high-scoring” match-up when the Coyotes beat the Canucks 4-2. Kyle Chipchura led Phoenix with 2 goals that night.
14-9-6, 34 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference)
Hard to say any of the Coyotes are “hot” right now, but Shane Doan has been the only ‘Yote to score more than once in their last 4 games. (He has 2 goals.) Doan is 1 point behind the team lead with 18 points (11G-7A) on the season.
Daniel Sedin is currently riding a 3-game point streak. He has 4 points (1G-3A) in that span.
Radim Vrbata has been sidelined with injuries this season and has missed 16 games so far. In his 14 games played he has just 4 goals – a far cry from his 35-goal season last season.
Chris Higgins has gone pointless in his last 5 games and is a dreadful minus-7 in that span.
With Chris Higgins, Steve Pinizzotto, Zack Kassian, Ryan Kesler and David Booth all injured, the Canucks have summonned Andrew Gordon from the Wolves and will likely play a defenseman as their 12th forward. In the over/under, pick the under. (Vancouver Sun)
After winning just 1 of 3 games in their recently-concluded road trip, the Canucks head back to Rogers Arena for a 4-game home stand. They’ll look to build on their shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and improve on their rather average 6-3-3 home record.
Like the Canucks, the Nashville Predators are in a dogfight to make the playoffs. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, but are among a group of 8 teams (including the Canucks) that are within 2 points of each other. In fact, after the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, only 8 points separate 3rd place and 15th place in the wild, wild West.
The Canucks and the Preds have already met once this season. Led by Roberto Luongo and his 23 saves, the Canucks won a 1-0 decision in Nashville back on February 22nd. Dale Weise, who scored the game’s lone goal halfway through the third period, was the unlikely hero.
25 GP, 12-7-6, 30 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)
Jason Garrison has points in consecutive games (1G-1A-2P). He’s also been logging some additional ice-time – in the 23 to 25-minute range – while Kevin Bieksa remains injured (and Andrew Alberts remains in the lineup to play his whopping 10 minutes per game).
After a 5-game stretch during which he allowed an average of 4 goals per game, Pekka Rinne has 2 shutouts in his last 3 games.
Despite his decent play and his beauty of a spinorama move in Tuesday’s shootout, Mason Raymond only has 4 points (2G-2A) in his last 13 games.
Maple Ridge’s Vic Bartley was called up by the Predators over the weekend and will play his first-ever NHL game in Vancouver. (Maple Ridge News)
Known as the guy who cost the Canucks Revelstoke native, Aaron Volpatti, Steve Pinizzotto finished his conditioning stint with the Chicago Wolves yesterday, and is expected to join the Canucks today. (Vancouver Sun)