NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 10th (All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (41-23-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (39-22-5), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The longest road trip in NHL history will come to an end tonight when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
The Canucks are playing their 14th straight road game this evening, having last played in Vancouver on January 27 -- nearly two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics in British Columbia.
Vancouver has a solid 8-5-0 record so far on the epic swing and had a decent 18-16-1 mark as the guest this year. The Canucks, who will kick off a five- game homestand Saturday against Ottawa, have played much better at GM Place, posting a 23-7-1 record on home ice this season.
The Canucks beat Colorado on Tuesday night, extending their lead atop the Northwest Division to four points over the Avalanche. Mikael Samuelsson recorded his first career hat trick and Jannik Hansen scored a controversial goal late in the third period to help Vancouver rally to beat the Avalanche, 6-4, at the Pepsi Center.
Samuelsson had a four-point night, and all three of Samuelsson's tallies came in the second period, helping the Canucks win for the fourth time in five games. Vancouver trailed 3-0 after the first period and was down 4-1 in the second period.
"I wish we didn't have to come back like this," Samuelsson said. "It takes the energy away from you. You have to play the game for 60 minutes and we never stopped. That's the good thing. We know we can do it. We got a couple of comebacks early in the season, so that helps us confidence wise."
Hansen's game-winner came as he skated through the crease and deflected the puck away from goaltender Craig Anderson and the disc then trickled into the net.
Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists, while Roberto Luongo made 23 saves in the win.
Ryan Kesler notched a pair of assists to push his point streak to 10 games. Only Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who is riding a club-record 17-game point streak, has a longer current stretch in the NHL.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes will shoot for a third straight victory tonight, when they cap a five-game homestand. Phoenix is 24-10-2 as the host this year and will begin a four-game tour of the Southeast Division with Saturday's stop in Carolina.
The Coyotes haven't played since Saturday when they posted an impressive victory over Anaheim. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 32 shots for his seventh shutout of the season to help Phoenix post a 4-0 win over the Ducks.
Wojtek Wolski had a goal and an assist while Petr Prucha, Vernon Fiddler and Keith Yandle each lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who had lost three straight prior to winning back-to-back outings.
"That's the best game we've played in a long time," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippet. "We looked like a well-oiled machine out there. There's still work to be done but I like the way we competed tonight."
The win was Bryzgalov's 34th of the season, setting a franchise record. The previous mark of 33 was shared by Sean Burke, Bob Essensa and Brian Hayward.
This evening's game pits two of the Western Conference's highest-seeded teams against each other. Phoenix is currently fourth in the conference with 83 points, while Vancouver is third in the West with 84.
Phoenix has a tough road ahead if it wants to climb higher than the fourth seed as San Jose is 10 points ahead of the Coyotes for the Pacific Division lead.
The Coyotes and Canucks have split two meetings this year with each club winning on home ice. Phoenix has won three of five overall in the series, while Vancouver has lost two straight and three of its last four games in the desert.
03/10 10:56:41 ET