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Game 49: Coyote ugly

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
It wasn't exactly a 9-1 spanking like they endured the night before but Thursday's contest against the Coyotes was just as bad as far as the slumping Canucks are concerned.

Less than 24 hours after being completely manhandled by the Ducks, the Canucks suffered their second loss in as many nights – their third in a row overall – dropping a 1-0 decision to the Coyotes to conclude a dismal three-game road trip that saw them come up completely empty in terms of points in the standings.

Antoine Vermette's power play goal just past the midway mark of the first period stood up as the game-winner as the Coyotes handed the Canucks their eighth defeat in their last nine outings. The loss also marked the first time this season that the Canucks have dropped three straight regulation games.

Any thought the Canucks would come out looking to make amends for last night's poor showing were quickly dashed when they stumbled out of the gate looking like a tired team with very little confidence.

It didn't get any better as the night went along as the road team continued to look sloppy and disjointed and was lucky that the Coyotes didn't manage to turn more of their mistakes into goals.

The Canucks finished the game out-shooting the Coyotes 28 to 23 although only a handful of their shots resulted in quality scoring opportunities.

The Canucks did manage to put one puck behind Mike Smith just shy of the midway mark of the third period when Henrik Sedin directed a rebound off a Kevin Bieksa shot past the Coyotes' netminder on a 2-on-1 rush but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled the Canucks' captain gloved the puck into the net.

To add insult to injury, Henrik – along with fellow forwards Mike Santorelli and David Booth – would leave the game in the third period due to injury.

Eddie Lack made 22 saves on 23 shots in the defeat.

The Canucks return home on Saturday to host the Flames on Saturday.

Thursday's loss dropped the Canucks' record against divisional opponents to a dreadful 6-8-4. Four of Vancouver's six wins against divisional opponents have come against either the Flames or the Oilers, who happen to be the two worst teams in the Western Conference overall. The Canucks' record against the rest of the Pacific Division is 2-8-4.

LONG TIME IN THE MAKING: Mike Smith's shutout was the Coyotes' first blanking of the Canucks in nearly six years. The last time the Canucks were blanked by the Coyotes prior to Thursday was way back on March 13, 2008. Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 24 shots that night in a 2-0 Coyotes victory at the Arena.

BAD BOYS: Prior to this three-game road trip, there were only three times in their first 46 games where the Canucks were assessed 20-or-more penalty minutes. They doubled that number after this trip after being assessed 20 penalty minutes on Thursday in Phoenix following being assessed 69 penalty minutes on Monday in Los Angeles and 73 penalty minutes on Wednesday in Anaheim.

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