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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 16th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (24-15-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (21-16-9), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Vancouver Canucks needed something to watch on the trip to Phoenix, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" may have been a good choice.

The Canucks will need to quickly forget about their previous effort when they visit the Coyotes on Thursday night hoping to avoid a third straight setback.

Vancouver has lost seven of its last eight games, dropping a 1-0 decision at Los Angeles on Monday to begin a three-game road trip before getting run out of the building in Anaheim on Wednesday night.

The Canucks yielded six power-play goals in a 9-1 loss, with both of their goaltenders struggling.

Eddie Lack got the start and yielded three goals on 13 shots in just under 24 minutes of work. He was replaced by Joacim Eriksson, who made his NHL debut and was lit up for six goals on 31 shots.

However, five of the six tallies Eriksson yielded came with the Canucks shorthanded even with Vancouver coming in as the top-ranked penalty killing team in the league.

"Their power play kind of put the game away for them and the game kind of got away from us from there," said Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis.

Already down 6-0, Zack Kassian got the Canucks on the board with a power-play tally with two seconds to go in the second period.

Vancouver coach John Tortorella didn't even want to try and explain the loss afterwards.

"It does me no good. It does the players no good to discuss anything what happened here. The biggest thing for us is we need to get out of here and get ready for our next game," said Tortorella.

The Canucks are likely to go back to Lack tonight and he has never before faced Phoenix.

The Coyotes are in the midst of their own struggles, having lost six of their past seven games while going 3-8-4 in the last 15. They lost their fourth game in a row on Tuesday night with a 2-1 setback to the hosting St. Louis Blues.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in his second straight game and Mike Smith made 16 saves.

Despite the loss, the Coyotes managed to stay in the game after getting outscored 14-5 in the first three contests of this four-game slide.

"This was much better because we gave ourselves a chance to win," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "We had a lot of chances to score in the third. We took some steps in fixing our problems here tonight."

Tippett hopes that also is the case with Smith, who is winless since Dec. 21 and has lost seven straight decisions. He is 4-3-1 with a 2.37 goals against average in nine career starts versus the Canucks.

Starting tonight, Phoenix plays its next three games at home, where it has a winning record at 12-7-3.

The Coyotes and Canucks have split two meetings this season, with each team notching a post-regulation victory at home.

Vancouver has won three of the last four encounters overall and four of its last six in Phoenix.

01/16 11:02:19 ET

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