Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Arizona Coyotes

Game #68 Preview: Arizona at Vancouver

Coyotes play first of three remaining games against Canucks in a crucial playoff-significant match-up

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #68: ARIZONA (32-27-8) at VANCOUVER (34-25-6)

8:30 PM MST - Rogers Arena | Vancouver, BC

TV: Fox Sports Arizona (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Wes McCauley #4, Brad Meier #34

Linesmen: Brian Mach #78, Brandon Gawryletz #64

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

ARIZONA AT VANCOUVER

The Coyotes begin a critical, all-important three-game road trip tonight when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, marking the second of the teams' four scheduled meetings this season.

This will serve as the Coyotes' final regular season visit to Vancouver; the Canucks will return to Gila River Arena on March 12 and April 2 to wrap-up the teams' series.

Having posted a 2-1-0 record on their recent three-game home stand, the Coyotes are coming off of a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

"Every game, you try to play the right way," head coach Rick Tocchet said when asked what the message is to the team leading into the game. "For me, in these types of situations, details are big, the details of the game, details are huge in pressure games. When your details are off, you have less chance of winning a hockey game."

The Canucks are coming off of a 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, a game in which they held a 3-1 lead with under eight minutes left to play in regulation. The loss capped the Canucks' four-game road trip, where they finished with a 1-3-0 record, and served as their third consecutive defeat.

"I'm impressed with the way they've played, especially the last couple months," Tocchet said of the Canucks. "About a month ago, how hot they were, and then they ran into goaltending injuries like us for a while. They've got forwards that can score, and they've got some guys that aren't afraid to get to the net, they've got some really good centermen. They're a good hockey club."

Vancouver currently owns the top wild card spot in the Western Conference. Arizona ranks fifth in the wild card rankings despite having just two fewer standings' points.

Darcy Kuemper will start, Tocchet confirmed this morning. It'll be Kuemper's second start since returning from a lower-body injury on February 25, when he made 24 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

No other lineup changes are expected.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THREE THINGS

WILD CARD'S WILD: The top five teams in the Western Conference wild card playoff race are separated by just two points: VAN - 74, WPG - 74, MIN - 73, NSH - 72, ARI - 72. Due to tiebreakers, the Coyotes cannot reclaim a wild card spot tonight, even with a regulation win. Should they win, they can pull to within a tie in the points category. Arizona and Vancouver are the only teams among the five clubs listed above in action this evening.

GET USED TO IT: The Coyotes had faced every other team in the NHL before matching up against the Canucks for the first time on January 16, which is incredibly rare when it comes to an intradivision opponent. Arizona is to play Vancouver three more times over its final stretch of 15 games. Their match-ups alone are worth 12 points and will likely have a gigantic effect on playoff positioning.

ROAD RESURGANCE: After earning points in 16 of their first 20 road games (13-4-3) up until December 22, the Coyotes' road success has tapered off. They have gone 2-11-1 in 14 road games since, and have only one win in their last 11 games played in opposing buildings (1-9-1). They'll certainly look to shift the trend of their recent road performance tonight against the Canucks, who are 20-7-4 this season on home ice at Rogers Arena.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

LAST TIME AROUND

JANUARY 16, 2020 - ARIZONA (1) at VANCOUVER (3)

The Coyotes came up on the short end in the teams' previous meeting on January 16 at Vancouver's Rogers Arena, falling to the Canucks by a 3-1 final.

Christian Dvorak opened the scoring to give the Coyotes the game's first lead eight minutes in, but the Canucks responded with three unanswered goals - including an empty net tally - to secure the win.

Adin Hill stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced in the loss.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NUMBER TO KNOW

TWENTY-ONE (21)

Clayton Keller has been on a tear of late, putting up a pair of three-point performances in the team's last three games. With two goals scored in each of those games, Keller is now up to five multi-goal performances on the year.

He enters tonight's game leading the team in road scoring with 21 points (7G, 14A).

Following his scoring surge during the Coyotes' three-game home stand, Keller now leads all players on the roster in scoring with 43 points (17G, 26A). Taylor Hall has 50 points on the year, though 25 of those came as a member of the New Jersey Devils prior to the December 16 trade.

The 21-year-old sharpshooter has six points (2G, 4A) in nine career games against the Canucks. He is coming off of a two-goal, one assist outing on Saturday against Buffalo.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

QUICK HITS

  • Phil Kessel has 19 points (8G, 11A) in 20 career games against the Canucks.
  • The Coyotes rank third in the NHL with a 2.60 GA/G average.
  • Quinn Hughes leads all NHL rookie defensemen in scoring with 51 points (8G, 43A).
  • Brad Richardson enters the night on a three-game point streak (2G, 1A).
  • The Canucks are 20-7-4 on home ice this season.
  • Vinnie Hinostroza is one point shy of 100 for his NHL career (34G, 65A).
  • J.T. Miller leads the Canucks in scoring with 68 points (26G, 42A).
  • Arizona owns a 79-93-20-8 all-time record against Vancouver.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lead Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick - NHLI via Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick - NHLI via Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

View More