Skip to main content


Coyotes-Canucks Preview @NHL

Although the Vancouver Canucks struggled during the first few weeks of the season, they have been much better lately.

The Canucks look to ride Kyle Wellwood's surprising production to a second straight victory Thursday night when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.

Vancouver (7-6-0) kicked off this season with a pair of convincing victories, then went on to lose four of its next five games. But the team appears to have rebounded from that difficult stretch, winning four of six contests since then.

On Tuesday, Wellwood scored his team-leading fifth and sixth goals and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for his third shutout this season and 41st of his career in a 4-0 home victory over Nashville.

The Canucks converted two of seven power-play opportunities, and killed off all six of their short-handed situations after allowing six man-advantage goals in 14 chances over their previous two games.

Claimed off waivers from Toronto on June 25, Wellwood has been among the league's biggest surprises. He has six goals and an assist in seven games since being called up from Manitoba of the AHL, and has provided a significant boost in the absence of injured offseason acquisition Pavol Demitra (fractured rib cartilage).

"All the NHL teams had a grab at him going down and coming up and nobody did," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, referring to Wellwood's minor-league demotion. "I don't know if that was a wakeup call for him or not, all I know is he's really grabbed this opportunity and he's helping us win games."

Twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin have made similar contributions for the Canucks lately. Henrik had two assists on Tuesday, giving him a goal and four assists over his last four games, while Daniel had a goal and an assist versus Nashville and has two goals and four assists in his last six contests.

The pair has been even more successful versus Phoenix (5-5-0). Henrik has four goals and 16 assists in his last 21 matchups while Daniel has seven goals and nine assists in his last 18.

Tuesday's shutout was the second in four games for Luongo, who is 3-1-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average during that span. He has never blanked the Coyotes, but has a 1.77 GAA in winning four of his last five starts against them.

Phoenix captain Shane Doan scored one goal and set up another as the Coyotes snapped a three-game road skid with a 4-2 victory at Calgary on Tuesday.

Doan has three goals and five assists during a four-game point streak, and leads Phoenix with seven goals and 12 points.

"Any time you win on the road it's really rewarding," defenseman Ed Jovanovski, whose first goal of the season broke a 2-all tie, told the Coyotes' official Web site. "The guys worked hard and we stuck with it and we got results from it."

Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves, and a has a 2.89 GAA in splitting eight starts this season. However, he is 3-2-1 with a 1.74 GAA in six all-time games against the Canucks.

Vancouver is 11-3-0 against Phoenix since Oct. 31, 2003, and the teams split four games last season. The Canucks have dominated this series at home, going 11-1-0 with a tie in the last 13 matchups.

View More