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Two huge points on the line for Canucks, Coyotes

by Jon Lane

CANUCKS (28-25-10) at COYOTES (27-23-11)


Last 10: Vancouver 1-8-1; Phoenix 3-5-2

Season series: The Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes face each other for the fifth and final time this season. The teams have split the first four games; Vancouver's wins came in overtime, the most-recent a 5-4 victory on Jan. 26.

Big story: The Canucks and Coyotes are battling for a playoff spot, but each are on the outside looking in. Vancouver has lost nine of its past 10 games, the latest a 4-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators at the 2014 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at BC Place on Sunday.

"Obviously, this one stings," Canucks forward Zach Kassian said. "The thing is we play Tuesday and we need a W. We need to move forward."

The Coyotes also fell Sunday, 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues, and missed an opportunity to jump over three teams, including the Canucks, for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver got off to a fast start Sunday by grabbing a 2-0 lead before surrendering four unanswered goals. The loss left the Canucks 1-8-1 in their past 10, but coach John Tortorella is keeping the faith.

"We need to keep believing as an organization," Tortorella said. "I'm not down. Sure you'd like to win a game and maybe get the five out of six [points on the homestand] before you go on the road, but it changes quickly. We're still in the middle of it."

Coyotes: Phoenix has picked the wrong time to go winless in its past four games. Like their opponents from Vancouver, the Coyotes also blew a 2-0 lead by giving up four unanswered goals in their loss to the Blues. Phoenix was even with the Colorado Avalanche this past Friday, but blew that one too, giving up two goals in 5:24 of an eventual 4-2 loss.

The Coyotes got in some video work Monday as part of off-ice workouts, highlighting what they can do better.

"It's obviously frustrating," goalie Mike Smith said. "We feel like we've done a lot of good things as of late and haven't gotten rewarded for it. We're in the trenches, though. We're still right there.

"This is the time of the season when you gotta elevate your play. If you want to be a playoff team sooner or later, you have to find ways to win these games. We're searching for it right now."

Who's hot: Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has points in four of his past five games (one goal, four assists).

Injury report: Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (leg) was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday. He reportedly is expected to be sidelined for three weeks. Forward Mike Santorelli (right shoulder surgery) and defensemen Yannick Weber (upper body) and Andrew Alberts (concussion) are on injured reserve … Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (lower body) will not be in the lineup and is day-to-day. 

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL

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