Canucks, Coyotes set to meet for first time
Tuesday, 12.29.2009 / 7:00 PM
CANUCKS (23-16-0) at COYOTES (24-13-3)
: Vancouver 7-3-0; Phoenix 6-2-2.
: First of four meetings this season. The Canucks and Coyotes each won twice in 2008-09, with Roberto Luongo
and Ilya Bryzgalov splitting four decisions. Luongo recorded the only shutout, 1-0 in Vancouver, on Nov. 6, 2008. Kevin Bieksa
of the Canucks and Joakim Lindstrom of the Coyotes led their teams with two goals apiece.
: Even when the Coyotes lose these days, it's hard not to come away impressed with their game. Having already shut out the Pacific Division-leading Sharks on the road this season, they rallied from a two-goal deficit Monday night and finished regulation in a tie. Phoenix couldn't secure the second point, as San Jose prevailed 3-2 in a shootout, but it was a solid road point for the surging Coyotes, who are on pace for over 100 points this season.
: Mason Raymond
recorded a natural hat trick as Vancouver began a four-game road trip in impressive fashion with a 5-1 win over Calgary on Sunday. The Canucks took advantage of a rare off night by Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, scoring four times in the first period and chasing him after just 20 minutes. Raymond, an Alberta native, completed his hat trick in the second against Curtis McElhinney
"It's always fun to do it in front of friends and family," Raymond said. "I grew up watching Calgary so you always remember coming to this rink and doing things here so that's exciting. This one will be one I'll remember for sure."
: Trailing 2-0 after allowing a shorthanded goal to Joe Pavelski in the second period Monday, Phoenix got goals from Petr Prucha and captain Shane Doan
to tie up San Jose. Pavelski wound up scoring the lone goal in the shootout, putting an end to what had been an exciting duel between Bryzgalov and his counterpart on the Sharks, Evgeni Nabokov. Bryzgalov stopped 36 shots through 65 of minutes of play.
"They've got a great team up there, and we know what they're capable of doing," Doan told the Arizona Republic over the weekend. "We feel when we're playing the way we're capable of playing we can beat anybody, and that's a great feeling to have, and we really feel that way.
"We feel that it doesn't matter what building we go into, where we're playing, who we're playing, if we play our best game."
Perhaps overshadowed by Raymond's hat trick, Henrik Sedin
also scored a goal in Vancouver's win over Calgary, giving him 50 points, good for second in the League. Daniel Sedin
, meanwhile, has two goals and five assists during a three-game points streak. Luongo has won three straight starts, allowing just one goal in each game and posting a .961 save percentage.
Phoenix forward Scottie Upshall has three goals and four assists in his last five games. Doan, who leads the team with 25 points, has three goals and three assists during the same span. Bryzgalov is 3-0-1 in his last four starts, including his League-leading fifth shutout. His goals-against average of 2.01 ranks fourth.
: The Canucks have recalled forward Alexandre Bolduc
, who had been out with a shoulder injury. Forward Ryan Johnson may miss Tuesday's game with a foot injury. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider is away from the team for personal reasons. Forwards Michael Grabner (ankle) and Pavol Demitra (shoulder) are on injured reserve.
Coyotes forward Daniel Winnik (right arm) and defenseman Kurt Sauer
(head) are on injured reserve.
: Vancouver defenseman Willie Mitchell is one assist shy of 100 for his career. ... Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski was a workhorse Monday, logging 24:36 of ice time on 37 shifts and recording an assist and a plus-2 rating.
: "They've been a real good group as far as buying in what we're trying to do as a team," first-year Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic. "Players finding their niche, finding their roles on our team, and everybody taking the responsibility to make sure they do it to the best of their ability.
"The simple things -- we want to play well as a group; we recognize what kind of team we have; we're going to play a strong defensive game to give ourselves a chance to win."