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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Arizona Coyotes

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The Canucks prepare for their first of four games against the Coyotes this season.

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (4-2-4) at Arizona Coyotes (5-4-1)

Time 7:00 PM PT TV Sportsnet Vancouver
H2H (2014/15) 3-1-1 Canucks Last Meeting 5-0 Canucks - April 9, 2015
The Enemy Five For Howling Scoring Leaders

VAN: Daniel Sedin (2-6-8)

MTL: Max Domi (4-6-10)

Canucks Category Coyotes
4-2-4 Season Record 5-4-1
12 Points 11
T-1st Division Position 3rd
Lost 1 Streak Lost 1
27 Goals For 27
22 Goals Against 28
19.4 Power Play % 12.2
89.3 Penalty Kill % 83.8
31.0 Shots Per Game 27.2
28.6 Shots Against Per Game 31.5


Last Game at a Glance

The Canucks are coming off a tough 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, blowing yet another third period lead. It was the Stars' eighth straight win over the Canucks dating back to 2013.

Vancouver struck first as Alex Burrows was slashed on a breakaway, earning a penalty shot which he would convert on. The Canucks would eventually build a 3-1 lead in the third period, but Dallas scored two goals in five minutes to send the game to overtime where Jamie Benn, the league's top scorer, delivered the game-winning goal.

Radim Vrbata scored just ten seconds into the third period, but it wasn't enough to stop Dallas from coming in and wiping out the lead.

Canucks Lineup Notes

This could be the night that Ryan Miller finally gets a night off. Miller has played in every minute of Vancouver's 10 games so far. His 611 minutes on ice lead the league, with the next closest goalie, Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop, at 599 minutes.

Richard Bachman would get the start if Desjardins decides to give Miller the night off. If Bachman does play, it'll be his first start since April 7 last season when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Another Blown 3rd Period Lead

Thursday's loss to the Stars marked the fourth time in their first 10 games of the season that the Canucks surrendered a third period lead. I personally wasn't able to catch the Dallas game, so I'm not quite sure what happened specifically, but I do know from watching other games that this team seems to have an issue playing to win while ahead and keeping the pressure on. Too often, once the Canucks build a lead, they seem to ease up and play like they are afraid to lose. That'll have to change as the season goes on.

The Canucks have struggled in overtime this year, posting a 1-0-4 record. Vancouver's one overtime win came in the shootout against Anaheim on October 12 in the third game of the season. Last year, the Canucks were 12-0-5 in overtime and the shootout.

Radim Vrbata Returns to Familiar Grounds

It's always intriguing watching players go up against teams that they spent significant time with. That will be the case with Radim Vrbata tonight as he returns to face the Coyotes. Vrbata played 428 games over six years for Arizona. Since coming to Vancouver last year, Vrbata has one goal and three assists in five games against his former team.

After a slow start this year, Vrbata is finally finding his groove and has three goals and one assist in the past four games.


Last Game at a Glance

The Coyotes are coming off their worst loss of the year so far, a 6-0 shutout on the road to the Boston Bruins. Max Domi, Arizona's leading scorer (4-6-10) struggled on the night, registering a minus-3.

The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead through two periods before tacking on three more goals in the third to put the game away for good. It was Boston's first home win of the year, as well as Arizona's first shutout loss of the season.

It was Arizona's eighth straight loss to the Bruins dating back to the 2010-11 season.

Coyotes Lineup Notes

The Coyotes could see the return of center Martin Hanzel and center Antoine Vermette. Both centers have been dealing with lower body injuries. Vermette had previously played in 482 straight games dating back to the 2008-09 season, the second longest streak in the NHL behind Anaheim's Andrew Cogliano (632).

Hanzel has yet to score a goal, but is tied for the team lead in points with 10 thanks to his 10 assists in nine games this year. Hanzel is one of six players tied for the lead league in assists.

Connor Murphy is also set to return to the lineup after being out with a lower body injury. Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said that Murphy will be back for sure while Hanzel and Vermette will be re-evaluated.

Road Warriors

The Coyotes are returning home to kick off a three-game homestand after being on the road for the past five games. Arizona went 2-2-1 on the road trip, recording five out of a possible ten points. The Coyotes have played seven of their first 10 games away from home, so this homestand will be much needed for the team. They'll have to enjoy it while they can, because after this set of home games, they'll play six of their next seven games on the road. At the conclusion of the trip, 13 of their first 20 games will have been on the road.

Seeing an Old Friend

This will be Brad Richardson's first game against the Canucks since signing with Arizona as a free agent on July 1. In two seasons with the Canucks, Richardson played in 118 games, scoring 19 goals with 25 assists. In 10 games with the Coyotes this year, Richardson has one goal and one assist.