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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 6th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (16-8-4) at Vancouver Canucks (15-10-5), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks returned home on their first winning streak in over a month.
The Canucks try to keep heading in the right direction on Friday night when they begin their homestand against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Vancouver went 3-1-0 on a four-game road trip, the lone loss of the swing coming in John Tortorella's return to New York on Nov. 30. The Canucks followed up with wins over Carolina and Nashville to improve to 10-5-2 on the road this season.
Ryan Kesler notched back-to-back two goal games to close out the trek, scoring twice in the third period of Tuesday's 3-1 victory over the Predators. Brad Richardson also scored and Roberto Luongo made 30 saves.
"The second half of the game, we started playing our game," Tortorella said. "Our power play came through again. We won three out of four and that's traction."
Vancouver is on its first winning streak since taking four in a row from Oct. 22-28 and will now try to improve on its 5-5-3 record at home.
Forward Alex Burrows did not play on Tuesday due to a broken jaw that is expected to keep him out for four weeks, while defenseman Alexander Edler won't play tonight due to a lower-body injury.
The Coyotes are looking to right the ship tonight after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Keith Yandle scored 4:47 into the game to put Phoenix in front, but Calgary responded to tie the game with 10 seconds left in the first to kick start a string of four straight goals.
"We played a really good first period, but got unlucky with a goal at the end of the first period that probably gave them some momentum and we couldn't get it back," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said.
Backup Thomas Greiss allowed all four goals on 18 shots for the Coyotes, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Four of those have come in regulation and Phoenix fell to 12-2-1 when scoring first this season.
The Coyotes have split the first two of a four-game swing that ends in Colorado on Tuesday.
The Coyotes have won four of six against the Canucks both overall and in Vancouver. They won the first meeting of the season between the clubs 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 5.
Antoine Vermette had the shootout winner in the fifth round and Mike Smith made 31 saves. Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan scored in regulation.
Smith is likely to start tonight after getting Wednesday off and is 4-3-0 with a 2.31 goals against average in his career versus the Canucks.
Kesler and Dan Hamhuis scored versus the Coyotes in the first meeting, while Luongo made 30 saves and fell to 11-10-2 in his career versus Phoenix with a 2.24 GAA.
12/06 10:59:26 ET
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