COYOTES (27-21-8) at CANUCKS (34-15-6)
TV: FS-A PLUS (HD), SNET-P (HD)
Last 10: Phoenix 6-3-1; Vancouver 6-1-3
Season Series: This is the second of four season meetings. In the first, Vancouver came to the desert on Nov. 25 and left with a 5-0 victory. Last season, Phoenix won both meetings in Vancouver.
Big Story: Phoenix's will put its season-high, five-game winning streak -- and newfound playoff position -- on the line Monday at Rogers Arena. With wins against conference giants like Detroit, San Jose and on Saturday night, Chicago -- the Coyotes moved into eighth place with 62 points. With wins in six of their last eight, Vancouver returns home for a three-game stand looking to gain on leaders Detroit.
Coyotes: As teams like Minnesota, Colorado and Dallas have seen their fortunes fade, the Coyotes have pounced, leapfrogging those three teams and Calgary to move into eighth position in a span of two weeks. While Phoenix has used an uptick in scoring to turn it around -- the Yotes are averaging 3.4 goals a game over the streak -- goalie Mike Smith has been a rock between the pipes. Over the last four games, he has stopped 119 of 122 shots, and has been in net for all five wins. He made 38 saves for his third shutout of the season against Chicago on Saturday.
"In the last two, three weeks, the guys in front of me have found ways to tie up sticks and let me see the puck," Smith said.
Canucks: Vancouver fell 3-2 in a shootout to Calgary Saturday, its only defeat on a four-game road trip. Goals from Cody Hodgson and David Booth erased a two-goal deficit, but Jarome Iginla eventually bagged the shootout-winner for the Flames. Still, Vancouver is on a nine-game points streak (6-0-3) and, heading into Sunday's games, is within two points of conference-leading Detroit.
"It's always nice to get that many points, but it stings a little bit with that last one," Burrows said. "We'll take that and get ready for the homestand."
Who’s Hot: Phoenix veteran and team scoring leader Ray Whitney has an eight-game points streak, with 2 goals and 10 assists over that stretch. … Booth has 4 goals and 4 assists in his last nine games, and also scored in the 5-0 drubbing of Phoenix earlier this season.
Injury Report: David Schlemko went on injured reserve with a foot injury on Jan. 8 and will miss the remainder of the season. … Vancouver's Dale Weise is doubtful for Monday's game with a lacerated foot. Chris Higgins is on injured reserve with an illness, and Andrew Ebbett is out indefinitely with collarbone surgery.
Stat Pack: Roberto Luongo has been nearly as sharp as Smith, with a 4-0-2 record and 2.35 goals-against average since Jan. 21. Against Phoenix, he has been even stingier, with a 1.50 GAA over his last six starts. He will need to be in top form early against the Coyotes, which has scored within the first eight minutes in each of their last four games. Radim Vrbata and Boyd Gordon gave Phoenix a 2-0 edge against Chicago just 5:58 into Saturday’s contest.
Puck Drop: "We have to put a string together, and we hadn't had a sustained winning streak all year. A sustained winning streak can get you right back to where you want to be. These five games have obviously been a great boost to us. We're playing better as a group. We're doing things that make you win." -- Phoenix coach Dave Tippett after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Chicago.
I'll keep doing the game day threads until we lose in regulation I guess.
This game will be a good one I expect and the half assed efforts of late just wont cut it against the 'Yotes. There were some encouraging signs of life in the game against the Flames but I really want to see us crank this one up and show why we are the top seed in the west.
I'm calling 3-1 Nucks with a dig-down-deep effort.
Daniel Plainview: You're not my son. You're just a little piece of competition. Bastard from a basket, bastard from a basket. You're a bastard from a basket!