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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, January 26th (All times Eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (24-18-9) at Vancouver Canucks (26-17-9), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes will look for a better finish on Sunday night as they wrap up a three-game road trip versus the Vancouver Canucks.

The Coyotes won for the first time in three games on Friday, holding on to top the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Phoenix scored three times in a 4:02 span of the first period and led by four goals when Mike Ribeiro scored three minutes into the second frame.

However, the Oilers got one back before the end of the second and scored twice in six minutes during the third period, but couldn't solve Mike Smith a fourth time as the Coyotes netminder ended with 36 saves.

Mikkel Boedker, Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris had goals and Ribeiro added an assist as Phoenix snapped a five-game road losing streak.

"Once the score got up 4-0, we made a couple of mistakes, let them back in the game and made it tight. I thought we played well for 30 minutes and the next 30 minutes we hung on," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett.

"We were just trying to play a solid road game. We kept getting pucks deep and we were hoping to get some traffic around the net and see if we could get on the scoreboard. We got a few (goals) in a short amount of time. Coming out of the third period with a lead like that, on the road, you should really salt that game away. In spurts we did and then made a couple of mistakes and made it close but we'll take the points."

While Vrbata scored for the first time in 14 games, Martin Hanzal's assist gave him a career high-tying 35 points on the season. He first reached that mark as a rookie in 2007-08.

The Canucks would like to get Daniel Sedin going tonight as he has not scored a goal since Dec. 30, notching just five assists in 11 games this month.

Sedin's 40 points are tied with twin brother Henrik for the club lead, but the latter Sedin has sat out the past two games with a rib injury that saw his ironman streak end at 679 straight games played when he missed Tuesday's win over Edmonton.

Henrik Sedin, who leads the Canucks with 31 assists, also missed Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, while head coach John Tortorella was absent for his second game as he serves a 15-day suspension for his actions against Calgary on Jan. 18.

Chris Higgins scored for the Canucks on Thursday and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves, but the Preds scored twice in the third period to snap Vancouver's two- game win streak and drop the club to 3-6-3 in its last 12 games.

"We have to protect leads. This is a tough one to lose," Luongo said.

Vancouver was 0-for-5 on the power play, including a man advantage with under five minutes to go, and lost the opener of a four-game homestand.

The Canucks sit eighth in the Western Conference with 61 points, four more than the Coyotes, and trail the Los Angeles Kings by three points for third place in the Pacific Division.

The Coyotes have beaten the Canucks twice at home this season, but dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime in their lone trip to Vancouver on Dec. 6.

Smith posted a 28-save shutout in the most recent encounter on Jan. 16 in Phoenix and is 2-0-1 with a 1.59 goals against average versus the Canucks this season.

Luongo is 1-0-1 in two starts and lifetime is 12-10-2 with a 2.22 GAA and three shutouts versus Phoenix.

The Canucks have won two straight and five of nine at home versus the Coyotes.

01/26 10:21:48 ET

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