Blazing starts by San Jose and Anaheim have somewhat overshadowed their Pacific Division rivals, but two of them will take center stage on Tuesday as the Phoenix Coyotes host the Vancouver Canucks. Phoenix enters the matchup on a roll, running its point streak to four games with a 3-2 shootout loss in San Jose on Saturday. The Coyotes are 6-0-1 at home and have won five straight, pumping in 22 goals in that span.
The Canucks are in the midst of their own hot stretch, winning five of their last six - including a dominating 4-0 victory over Toronto on Saturday. Vancouver is comfortable playing away from home, as its 5-1-1 mark on a recent seven-game road trip would attest, and has prevailed in four of its last five visits to Phoenix. The Canucks are one point behind the Coyotes as they kick off a four-game trek - all against division opponents.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, RSN Pacific (Vancouver), KTVK (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (10-5-1): Although Vancouver has shown its mettle on the road this season, its next four opponents are a combined 21-3-2 at home - and three of them have not lost in regulation. “We’re playing four really good teams in their buildings on this trip, and I think we’ll be up for the challenge,” left wing Chris Higgins said. “These are divisional games and everybody knows how important they are." Roberto Luongo, coming off his 64th career shutout, is 11-10-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average against the Coyotes.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (10-3-2): Phoenix is among the most potent offensive teams in the league with 51 goals in 15 games, and a big reason is the production from its defensemen. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle have accumulated 11 points - one more than Derek Morris - and the blue-liners had a streak of five straight games with at least three points snapped in San Jose. "Our defense is so underrated and so good, they put us in positions to be successful," captain Shane Doan said.
1. Vancouver ranks 28th in the league as it is 5-for-52 on the power play.
2. Coyotes G Mike Smith is coming off a 48-save effort versus San Jose to improve to 7-0-2 in his last nine.
3. Canucks C Henrik Sedin is riding an 11-game point streak.
PREDICTION: Coyotes 4, Canucks 2