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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 22nd (All times eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (19-12-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (17-16-0), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A few games ago, Roberto Luongo outdueled one of the best goaltenders in league history. Next, he'll try to outshine one riding an impressive hot streak when his Vancouver Canucks visit Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

Vancouver has won both of Luongo's games in net since he returned from a four- absence due to a rib injury. On Tuesday, he stopped all 32 shots faced in a 5-0 blanking of Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, his fifth shutout of the season. Then on Thursday, the netminder made 33 saves in a 3-2 victory over Dallas.

In 28 games this season, Luongo is 15-10-3 with a .929 save percentage. His 2.04 goals-against average is third in the league.

Daniel Sedin scored a pair of goals, Mattias Ohlund added two assists and Mason Raymond scored for the Canucks, who have won two in a row.

However, the club hits the road where it has lost three of its last four and is 10-6-2 on the season. Vancouver will play in Colorado on Sunday.

Bryzgalov, meanwhile, is trying to help turn things around in Phoenix. He is 9-6-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .928 save percentage in 15 games since getting claimed off waivers from Anaheim.

The Coyotes wrapped a six-game road trip on Thursday with a 5-1 mark, and Bryzgalov played in all but one of those games, going 4-1-0.

He was in net for Thursday's 3-2 shootout win over San Jose. The Russian backstop ended with 36 saves and stopped all three skaters in the extra session to lead his team to the win, Bryzgalov's fifth in seven games.

Peter Mueller had the lone goal in the shootout, scoring on a wrist shot that beat Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov through the five-hole.

Mike York and Shane Doan scored in regulation, with Doan forcing the extra sessions by scoring shorthanded with 41.5 seconds left in the third period.

The game also featured a host of fighting penalties early in the third, though Phoenix got the worst of it when defenseman Daniel Carcillo left the game with a right leg injury. He was assessed a fighting major and a game misconduct after tangling with San Jose's Jeremy Roenick. Carcillo is questionable for tonight.

The Coyotes now begin a four-game homestand in Phoenix, where they are 5-8-0 on the season. Minnesota, Detroit and Colorado will all come calling on the residency.

Vancouver is 13-2-2 in the last 17 meetings with the Coyotes and 5-2-1 in its previous eight stops in the desert.

12/22 11:00:39 ET


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