Final SO

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Tuesday, December 29th
Game 2: Thursday, January 7th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 10th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 30th

Canucks 2

(23-16-1, 47 pts)

Coyotes 3

(25-13-3, 53 pts)

9:00 PM ET, December 29, 2009

Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona

1 2 3 SO T
VAN 0 1 1 02
ARI 0 2 0 13

J. LaBarbera (Coyotes - G): Saves: 28, Save Pct.: .933

E. Jovanovski (Coyotes - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

L. Korpikoski (Coyotes - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Canucks-Coyotes Preview


The Phoenix Coyotes' success at home is a big reason why they're surprisingly in the thick of the Pacific Division race at the midway point of the season.

They'll try to tighten the chase Tuesday night when they attempt to set the franchise record for the longest home winning streak in a matchup against the surging Vancouver Canucks.

Phoenix (24-13-3) might be the biggest surprise in the NHL after failing to reach the playoffs each of the last six seasons. The team is second in the Pacific, four points back of first-place San Jose, which won the division by 26 points and claimed its first Presidents' Trophy last season.

The Coyotes failed to cut into the Sharks' lead Monday, falling 3-2 in a shootout at San Jose, but coach Dave Tippett was still encouraged by his team.

"We made a couple of mistakes to fall behind but I liked the way our guys climbed back into it," Tippett said. "There were chances to win it both ways, we hit the crossbar in overtime, but the goaltending was good both ways."

A three-game homestand may be just what Phoenix needs to rebound.

The club is third in the NHL with a 15-5-0 home record, winning nine in a row after beating Los Angeles 3-2 on Saturday to match a franchise record set in 1992-93, when the team was the Winnipeg Jets.

Ilya Bryzgalov, who will likely be in net after making 36 saves Monday, has been superb at Arena, going 15-3-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average and two shutouts. He's won his last 10 starts there behind a 1.30 GAA.

Bryzgalov is among the league leaders in wins (22), GAA (2.01), shutouts (5) and save percentage (.927). He's 5-4-1 with a 1.75 GAA in 10 career games against the Canucks, making 35 saves in his last meeting -- a 5-1 win at home on March 21.

The Coyotes split four meetings with Vancouver (23-16-0) last season, including two at home.

The Canucks are also hot, winning seven of nine after beating Calgary 5-1 on Sunday to open this four-game road trip in impressive fashion. Mason Raymond powered the victory, notching his first career hat trick against his hometown Flames.

"It's always fun to do it in front of friends and family," Raymond said. "I grew up watching Calgary so you always remember coming to this rink and doing things here so that's exciting. This one will be one I'll remember for sure."

Raymond has eight goals and four assists over the last nine games after going his previous five contests without a point. The left wing's 17 goals are one fewer than center Henrik Sedin's team high, and Raymond has already set career highs in goals and points with 29.

Raymond, however, has no points in seven games against the Coyotes.

Roberto Luongo is expected to start again after making 29 saves Sunday. The four-time All-Star has been a major factor during the Canucks' three-game winning streak, holding opponents to a goal in each contest while accumulating 73 saves.

Luongo has been outstanding in 12 starts this month, going 9-3-0 with a 1.85 GAA and one shutout. However, he's 2-4-0 with a 2.94 GAA in six games at Phoenix.