The Coyotes will begin a stretch of three games in four nights in three cities on Wednesday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The puck drops at 8 p.m. Arizona time.
Arizona (11-21-5), which plays at Anaheim on Friday and at home vs. the New York Islanders on Saturday, will attempt to halt a season-high seven-game losing streak.
"You have to stay positive otherwise it would get even worse," said Radim Vrbata, who needs one goal to tie Teemu Selanne for 10th place on the franchise's list for goals scored. "We know the situation, and we know how we got here, but there's still lots of games to play and we just have to stay positive and stay focused and improve. We need to start with one win, but we need to get that win as soon as possible."
Mike Smith is expected to start in goal. Head Coach Dave Tippett, sensing Smith needed a break, rested him last Saturday vs. Calgary and kept him out of the game despite the fact that backup goalie Louis Domingue struggled early in a 4-2 loss to the Flames.
Center Martin Hanzal is riding a three-game point streak and has notched four points in the past five games. He also leads the team in face-off winning percentage at 54.3.
The Coyotes will again play minus forward Ryan White, who was recently moved to the injured-reserve list because of a nagging lower-body injury he suffered on Dec. 21. They also will be without rookie defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, who must serve the first game of a three-game NHL suspension for abuse of officials.
"We've had lots of meetings and good practices, and that's really the focus," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We've got to stay with it here. It's funny, there's some parts of our game you really like. But we've either had a couple of weak links or a couple situations where we've beat ourselves. That starts going the wrong way, and it's hard to grab a hold of. So our veteran group has to recognize that, grab a hold of it. Our young guys have to keep pushing forward."
Video: Dave Tippett previews Coyotes' game vs. Vancouver
Arizona claimed center Alexander Burmistrov off the waiver wire on Monday, but he is not expected to play vs. Vancouver as he works through visa issues. Once he gets on the ice, Tippett hopes the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft can jump-start his NHL career.
"There is some skill there," Tippett said. "It's just a matter of translating it to on-ice success … I like to look at it as a clean slate coming in. If you dissect things from his old team you get an idea, but you've got to come in and put him in a role here. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't."
Vancouver (18-18-3) has won four games in a row to climb back into playoff contention in the Western Conference. It's the team's longest winning streak since it opened the season 4-0-0 in October.
The Canucks are a solid home team; 13 of their 18 victories have come at Rogers Arena. Only the St. Louis Blues have gathered more home wins among Western Conference teams.
Forward Bo Horvat, the team's first-round draft pick in 2013, has a four-game point streak and leads the Canucks with 11 goals and co-leads with 26 points with Henrik Sedin, who needs four points to reach 1,000 for his NHL career.
Goalie Ryan Miller has posted three wins in a row, and he stopped 84 of 89 shots in those games. Miller, who became just the 21st NHL goalie to win 350 games on Monday, is 10-1-0 with one shutout and a 1.53 goals-against average vs. the Coyotes in 11 games.
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUP VS. CANUCKS:
Rieder - Hanzal - Vrbata
McGinn - Dvorak - Duclair
Perlini - Holland - Doan
Crouse - Jooris - Martinook
Ekman-Larsson - Schenn
Goligoski - Stone
Connauton - Murphy