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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 21st (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (14-9-6) at Phoenix Coyotes (13-13-4), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The slumping Phoenix Coyotes can at least take comfort in the fact that they were not shut out in their previous game.

Still, the Coyotes know they need to get back on track soon and they look to avoid a fifth straight loss on Thursday evening as they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Phoenix was held without a goal in the each of the first three games of its recent road trip, including a 1-0 shootout loss in Columbus on March 16. The Coyotes followed with games in Los Angeles on consecutive nights, falling 4-0 one night before Tuesday's 3-2 setback.

Things were once again looking bleak as the Coyotes failed to score over the first two periods and trailed by two. Captain Shane Doan finally broke the scoring drought at 245 minutes, 33 seconds on his 10th goal of the season with 8:32 left, but the Kings responded shortly after with a power-play goal.

Though Doan got his second of the game with 41 seconds to play, Phoenix still went winless on the four-game swing. Mike Smith made 26 saves in his club's fifth straight road loss.

Those struggles have the Coyotes in a tie for ninth-place in the Western Conference with Columbus, two points behind San Jose.

"Obviously everybody in this room is frustrated and disappointed and desperate," said Doan. "We have to start with a desperate game and play a full game as desperate as we can. There's a lot of good things from that game and we have to take the positives and keep going. We could have just as easily won that game, but we didn't and that's the way it goes."

Phoenix will play its next two at home and takes on a Vancouver club coming off a split of a four-game residency.

The Canucks snapped a two-games slide on Tuesday, holding on for a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Cory Schneider got plenty of work as his club was outshot 34-19. He stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period and ended with 32 saves in all, getting tagged for a pair of goals in the third.

"We got a real solid performance from Cory," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "You need great goaltending to win in this league. He gave us that."

The Canucks scored three times in the second period, with Daniel Sedin notching a goal and an assist. Dale Weise and Jannik Hansen added goals as the Canucks moved back into a tie with Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division after losing to the Wild the previous night. However, the Wild beat Detroit on Wednesday to pull two points in front of Vancouver.

The Canucks have lost three straight versus the Coyotes, including a 4-2 home setback on Feb. 26 in the first of three meetings this season.

03/21 11:01:16 ET