Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Canucks vs Coyotes Game Preview – December 6, 2013

Courtesy www.faceoff.com

Courtesy www.faceoff.com

The Vancouver Canucks look to build on another successful road trip with a 7:00 PM PST inter-division tilt vs the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena.

Last Game

The Canucks topped off a successful 4 game road trip with a gutsy 3-1 win vs the Nashville Predators. Ryan Kesler took the Canucks on his back with 2 unanswered third period goals vs the Preds. Kesler had scored 2 goals in the previous game vs the Carolina Hurricanes and now leads the Canucks in goal scoring with 14 on the season. The Canucks continued their dominance on the road going 3-1 on their 4 game road trip and are fully aware that they need to take that road swagger home to Rogers Arena.

The Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes are coming off of a dreadful 4-1 loss to the lowly Calgary Flames and have struggled of late (4-4-2 in their last 10 games) after an extremely successful start to the season. The Coyotes are not themselves these days as they currently rank 4th overall in the NHL in goals for (3.14/game) and, shockingly, sit 25th overall in goals against (3.14/game). The Coyotes now have been given the proverbial kiss of death with a Mark Spector column opining the ‘Yotes are “not going anywhere but up for a long time.”

Canucks Lines

The injury bug has hit the Canucks with Alex Burrows and, more recently, Alex Edler, out long-term. Lines at practice looked like this:

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Booth

Higgins – Kesler – Santorelli

Hansen – Richardson - Weise

Sestito – Dalpe – Kassian

Garrison – Alberts

Hamhuis – Tanev

Stanton – Bieksa

Luongo

The pretend Larscheid report…

1. Keep Up The Road Momentum

The Canucks have a sparkling 10-5-2 record on the road, but have not been able to produce the same magic in the friendly confines of Rogers Arena. Clearly the Canucks played very well in their last home stand, but received almost nothing in the points department to prove it. The Canucks need to continue to play well at home and get the results to match!

2. Step Up in Edler’s Absence

The rumour is that Alex Edler will be out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain. Edler has been panned by media and fans alike, however, Edler plays more than any other Canuck defenceman and plays more minutes against top competition than any other Canuck defenceman (why the media never brings this up is beyond me). With Andrew Alberts drawing in the line up, expect the everyday defencemen to play extra minutes. The D needs to step up big time in Edler’s absence!

3. Improving Booth

David Booth has been working on his skating and the Canucks need him to continue striding in the right direction (what a brutal pun, but I couldn’t resist). A healthy and effective Booth is like mana from heaven for the Canucks!

Prediction

I was leaning towards predicting a disappointing Canuck home loss to the Coyotes until I read Mark Spector’s article (linked previously) on how good the ‘Yotes are. This is akin to the Don Taylor “they are for real” label (Minnesota Wild last year and Colorado Avalanche this year…Wild tanked and the Avs are on the verge). Canucks take this one 4-2. Thanks Mark!

Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher

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