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Canucks hope to respond vs. Coyotes

by John Kreiser

CANUCKS (24-15-9) at COYOTES (21-16-9)


Last 10: Vancouver 3-4-3; Phoenix 2-6-2

Season series: This is the third of five games between the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. The home team won each of the first two games, but the visiting team got a point by getting past regulation.

Big story: The Canucks come to Arizona after a nightmarish two-game trip to Southern California in which they were swept and scored one goal -- which came in a 9-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Despite struggling since the Christmas break, they still hold the first of the two wild-card berths in the Western Conference.

The Coyotes, who trail Vancouver by six points, are desperate for a win after dropping four in a row in regulation.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver probably couldn't have gotten out of Anaheim fast enough after they surrendered six power-play goals and were demolished by the League-leading Ducks. The Canucks took 73 minutes in penalties and gave the Ducks a 5-on-3 advantage for 7:00 in the third period after Tom Sestito and Jannik Hansen each received 17 minutes in penalties for instigating fights.

Coach John Tortorella didn't want to talk about the penalty problems, preferring instead to turn the page as quickly as possible.

"It was one of those nights," he said. "The big thing for us is that we need to get out of here and get ready for the next game."

Coyotes: Four straight losses have dropped Phoenix out of the top eight in the Western Conference. But coach Dave Tippett is optimistic after watching his team go toe-to-toe with the powerful St. Louis Blues on the road Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss.

The Coyotes, who had Wednesday off, limited St. Louis to two shots in the third period and 18 in the game against Mike Smith.

"I thought he was solid," Tippett said of his starting goaltender. "I thought we were solid in front of him, too. We gave up a few chances early but after that, we were pretty solid. It has to be a group effort if you’re going to be successful. Your goaltender needs to play well, but we have to play well in front of him."

Who's hot: Zach Kassian had Vancouver's lone goal in Anaheim and has scored twice in his past four games. … Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has both of his team's goals this week after not scoring for 23 games.

Injury report: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (ankle) remains day-to-day. Forwards Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw) and Jordan Schroeder (ankle), and defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion) and Ryan Stanton (ankle) are on injured reserve. … Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body), who hasn't played since Dec. 17, was cleared to return and will play against the Canucks.

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