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Canucks conclude historic road trip vs. Coyotes

by Brian Compton
CANUCKS (41-23-2) at COYOTES (39-22-5)

Last 10: Vancouver 7-3-0; Phoenix 6-4-0.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. After dropping a 3-2 decision at Phoenix on Dec. 29, 2009, Vancouver responded with a 4-0 victory at GM Place on Jan. 7.

Big Story: There will be a silver lining for the Canucks in this one. Win or lose, they get to go home after the game as Wednesday marks the conclusion of their historic 14-game road trip. The Canucks haven't played at home since Jan. 27 due to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver extended its lead in the Northwest Division to four points with an impressive 6-4 win at Colorado on Tuesday. Veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson recorded his first NHL hat trick and Henrik Sedin had 3 assists. Vancouver rallied from a three-goal deficit for its fourth win in five games.

"We wished we didn't have to come back in any game. It takes too much energy out of you," Samuelsson said. "But this shows we can play for 60 minutes."

Coyotes: Hoping to claim the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, Phoenix has won its last two games and has outscored its opponents by a 7-1 margin. The Coyotes' most recent victory came Saturday, a 4-0 defeat of Anaheim at Arena. Wednesday marks the conclusion of a four-game homestand.

"I thought our penalty killing was outstanding," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of the win against the Ducks. "It started with (Ilya Bryzgalov) in goal. They're a big, heavy team that throws a lot of pucks at the net. The only down side of the penalty killing was I don't like the penalties we were taking to put a team like that on the power play that many times."

Who's Hot: Henrik Sedin has a goal and 7 assists in five games this month for the Canucks, while his twin brother, Daniel, is 1-8-9.

Wojtek Wolski has 2 goals in as many games for the Coyotes after being acquired last Wednesday from Colorado.

Injury Report: For the Canucks, Willie Mitchell (concussion) and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder) likely are done for the season. Kevin Bieksa (ankle) is close to returning, while Steve Bernier (groin) has returned to Vancouver to see a specialist.

Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall (torn ACL) is out for the season, while Kurt Sauer (neck) hasn't played since Oct. 3.

Stat Pack: Phoenix has 39 wins, -- three more than it won all of last season -- after just 66 games, and one shy of the most wins since moving to Phoenix (40 in 2001-02). With 17 games left to play, the Coyotes are just four wins shy of tying the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise record of 43 wins. At 39-22-5, Phoenix has 83 points, four more than it had all of last season.

Puck Drop: "It's nice, but I'm not chasing any records here. I came to help my teammates win games and my teammates help me win games because we are in the same boat. We're trying to make the playoffs and every game we win we are closer to finishing this mission." -- Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov

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