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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, January 31st (All times eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (29-18-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (26-24-3), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks continue their season-long seven-game road trip tonight, as they visit the Phoenix Coyotes at Glendale Arena.

The Canucks had been struggling on the road recently, but managed to secure an important victory Saturday in Denver. Jarkko Ruutu scored the deciding shootout goal and also had a tally in regulation to lead the Canucks to a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Mattias Ohlund and Ryan Kesler both scored for the Canucks, who had lost three straight. All three losses came at the start of their current swing.

Alexander Auld made 40 saves and stopped all three Colorado shooters in the shootout for Vancouver, which briefly moved into a first-place tie with Calgary in the Northwest Division with 63 points. However, the Flames moved back ahead with a win over the Chicago Blackhawks and an overtime loss to St. Louis. The Flames now hold first place with 66 points.

Vancouver captain Markus Naslund, who leads the team with 23 goals and 54 points this season, missed his first game of the season Saturday with hip and groin injuries. Naslund is questionable for tonight's contest.

Also, Canucks defenseman Ed Jovanovski will undergo abdominal surgery and is expected to miss the Olympics for Canada. Jovanovski will have the procedure done in Philadelphia on Wednesday and could be sidelined at least six weeks.

The Canucks, who are 11-15-2 as the road team this year, visit Calgary on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday to complete their trek.

The Coyotes have gained points in each of their last three games, but were dealt a shootout loss by the Oilers on Sunday. Radek Dvorak scored to start the sixth round of the shootout and Mike Morrison stopped Mike Johnson on the other end to lift Edmonton to the 4-3 win.

Zbynek Michalek, Dave Scatchard and Boyd Devereaux had a goal apiece and Curtis Joseph stopped 27 shots for Phoenix, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Dennis Seidenberg, who came over from Philadelphia in the Petr Nedved trade a few weeks ago, tallied two assists for the Coyotes.

Tonight marks the third test of a season-long 10-game homestand for the Coyotes, who are 14-10-2 in Glendale this year. The club won't play another road game until March 7 after the season resumes following the Olympic break.

Vancouver has won two of three encounters with the Coyotes this season. The Canucks are 9-1-2 (1 loss, 2 ties) in the last 12 matchups with Phoenix.

01/31 10:48:32 ET

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