A pair of teams mired in ugly tailspins will square off when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night. Vancouver has lost two straight and nine of 10 (1-8-1) and now sits just on the outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference - one point ahead of Phoenix, which squandered a two-goal, third period lead to St. Louis on Sunday to extend its losing streak to four games. The teams have split four meetings this season, the home team prevailing in each.
The Canucks gave up an early two-goal lead in a 4-2 loss to visiting Ottawa in Sunday's Heritage Classic, marking the ninth time in the 10-game swoon they have failed to score more than two goals. In addition, Daniel Sedin, who is tied with twin brother Henrik for the team lead in scoring with 40 points, suffered a leg injury Sunday and reportedly could be out at least three weeks. The Coyotes' offense is also stuck in a deep freeze, failing to score more than twice in six consecutive games.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, RSNP (Vancouver), FSN Arizona Plus
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (28-25-10): Daniel Sedin was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Monday on his left leg after he was checked into the boards by Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot. Although Sedin is riding a 22-game goalless drought, the extent of his injury could play a part in whether Vancouver opts to deal center Ryan Kesler, who has been the subject of numerous trade rumors. Coach John Tortorella also is dealing with discontent from both the fan base and in the locker room for his decision to start rookie Eddie Lack over veteran Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (27-23-11): Phoenix has squandered three chances to make up ground in the standings since the Olympic break, losing at Winnipeg in a shootout before giving up three third-period goals at Colorado and watching St. Louis score four times in the third 48 hours later. “I don’t know what’s going on,” forward Paul Bissonnette said. “It just seems like we get bored with playing simple and the right way. It keeps slipping away.” Center Martin Hanzal suffered a lower-body injury in the third period Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday's matchup.
1. All four meetings this season have been decided by one goal - with three going beyond regulation.
2. Phoenix has allowed four power-play goals in 11 chances in the past three games.
3. The Canucks called up forward Darren Archibald from Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday.
PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Canucks 2