|VAN||1||1||1||0||0 (3 - 6)||3|
|PHX||2||1||1||0||1 (4 - 6)||4|
The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to take advantage of their final home game before they play four straight and seven of eight on the road.
They won't get any sympathy from the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks visit Arizona on Wednesday to finally complete their string of 14 consecutive road games that spanned nearly six weeks, and they'll hope to cap the epic trip with a third straight victory.
The Vancouver Olympics necessitated the Canucks' NHL-record road trip, which consisted of eight games before the NHL's two-week break and six afterward to allow for General Motors Place to be converted.
Coach Alain Vigneault's team has managed to stay afloat. Vancouver was 10-11-1 on the road before beginning the trip on Jan. 30, but it has gone 8-5-0 in the first 13 games.
Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's contest, Vancouver (41-23-2) will return home atop the Northwest Division, thanks in large part to Tuesday night's 6-4 win at second-place Colorado.
"We wished we didn't have to come back in any game. It takes too much energy out of you," Samuelsson said. "But this shows we can play for 60 minutes."
With a prolific offense that has been at its best since the break, Vancouver may feel like it is never out of a game. The Canucks have totaled 23 goals while going 4-1-0 in five March games, erasing third-period deficits in three of their wins.
In that stretch, Samuelsson has six goals, the Sedins have combined for 15 assists and U.S. Olympic standout Ryan Kesler has seven points.
Just as Vancouver's lengthy journey ends, the Coyotes are about to begin what is arguably their toughest road stretch of the season. Phoenix is 24-10-2 at home, but after Wednesday's game, it will play 11 of its final 15 on the road.
It would take a major collapse for the Coyotes (39-22-5) to miss out on their first playoff berth since 2002. First-year coach Dave Tippett's club sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, nine points clear of ninth-place Detroit.
Phoenix has not played since Saturday, when Ilya Bryzgalov earned his seventh shutout of the season with 32 saves in a 4-0 win over Anaheim. The Russian netminder also set a franchise single-season record with his 34th victory.
"It's nice but I'm not chasing any records here," Bryzgalov said. "I came to help my teammates win games and my teammates help me win games because we are in the same boat.
"We're trying to make the playoffs and every game we win we are closer to finishing this mission," Bryzgalov added.
One of Phoenix's five wins that weren't credited to Bryzgalov was a 3-2 shootout victory over Vancouver at Jobing.com Arena on Dec. 29.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo lost that game but outdueled Bryzgalov at Vancouver on Jan. 7, making 31 saves while Alex Burrows provided a hat trick in the Canucks' 4-0 win.
The defensive-minded Coyotes will surely need more offense this time, and forward Wojtek Wolski may be the solution after joining Phoenix via trade from Colorado last week. Wolski scored a goal in his Phoenix debut - against the Avalanche - and added a goal and an assist against the Ducks.
Petr Prucha's goal in the first period Saturday snapped a lengthy drought for the Coyotes' league-worst power play (14.9 percent). In their previous seven games, they had been 0 for 27 with the man advantage.
|Mar 30 '10||PHX 1 at VAN 4||M. Raymond|
|Mar 10 '10||VAN 3 at PHX 4 - SO||A. Aucoin|
|Jan 07 '10||PHX 0 at VAN 4||A. Burrows|
|Dec 29 '09||VAN 2 at PHX 3 - SO||L. Korpikoski|