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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 11th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (22-19-1) at Vancouver Canucks (24-15-4), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Canucks didn't enjoy their little venture outside of Vancouver yesterday. Tonight, Vancouver will be back in the friendly confines of General Motors Place, as the club hosts the Phoenix Coyotes.

Vancouver is 13-6-2 as the home team this year, and hasn't lost as the host in regulation since November 1 against Nashville. Since then, the Canucks are 12-0-2 at GM Place and have won six straight and 11 of the last 12 as the home team.

However, the Canucks found themselves in San Jose on Thursday night and were handed a 3-1 setback. With the win, the Sharks swept the four-game season series against the Canucks.

Ryan Kesler scored the only goal for Vancouver, which saw its two-game win streak halted and failed to register at least a point for only the third time in its last 11 games overall (7-3-1). Roberto Luongo allowed three goals on 31 shots in the loss.

Vancouver forward Jeff Cowan, who had missed 13 games with a shoulder injury, returned to action, but the club is still without Brad Isbister (back spasms) and Mattias Ohlund (concussion-like symptoms).

The Canucks did add depth on Thursday, claiming Kris Beech off waivers from the Blue Jackets. The 26-year-old Beech appeared in 16 games for Columbus this season, recording five goals and four assists.

Following tonight's game, Vancouver returns to the road for three straight games, beginning with a test in St. Louis on Sunday.

Phoenix, meanwhile, was handed a rare road loss on Thursday. The Coyotes had won six straight on the road, just two shy of the franchise mark, before losing 5-2 in Edmonton yesterday.

Keith Ballard and Nicholas Boynton had a goal apiece, and Shane Doan had two assists for Phoenix, which had a five-game win streak snapped. That run was the Coyotes' longest of the season and best since a seven-game win streak last season.

Ilya Bryzgalov had an usual bad start, allowing four goals on 15 shots before being lifted for Mikael Tellqvist, who stopped 17-of-18 shots the rest of the way.

Bryzgalov, who played his first nine games of the season with Anaheim before getting claimed off waivers by Phoenix, is still 13-9-1 with a 2.28 goals- against average and .926 save percentage in 23 games with the Coyotes.

Phoenix has now split the first two games of its current four-game road trip and is 14-9-0 as the visiting squad this year. The Coyotes conclude their swing in Minnesota on Sunday.

The Canucks posted a 2-1 shootout victory in Phoenix when the clubs met for the first time this season on December 22. Vancouver has won five of the last six in the series and is 14-2 with two ties in the last 18 meetings.

The Coyotes are winless in their last 11 trips to Vancouver (0-10 with a tie) and haven't won there since the 2000-01 season.

01/11 10:45:48 ET

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