By Matt Beardmore
Vancouver (38-23-9) at Phoenix (29-35-7), 9:00 p.m. EST
GLENDALE, Arizona (AP) — Vancouver has been unbeatable at home
recently. With a six-game trip in front of them, the Canucks
will try to extend that success to the road.
After winning its franchise-best 11th straight at General Motors
Place, Vancouver looks to snap a three-game road skid Saturday
night against a Phoenix Coyotes club that’s dropped nine of 11
If Roberto Luongo can continue his hot streak, the Canucks
(38-23-9) will have a good opportunity at securing their first
road win since a 3-2 shootout victory over Toronto on Feb. 21.
The veteran notched his sixth shutout of the season and first
since Nov. 8 with 30 saves in a 3-0 win over St. Louis on
Luongo is 16-2-1 with a 2.19 GAA in his last 19 starts.
“It’s nice to not have to play on top of my head every night to
get a win, but sometimes you got to do it,” said Luongo,
referring to the Canucks getting outshot 30-21 by the Blues. “We
maybe didn’t have our legs early and I had to make a couple of
saves, but once we got our first goal we got going.”
One of Luongo’s 44 career shutouts came against Phoenix – a
28-save effort Nov. 6 in Vancouver as the Canucks won 1-0.
While Luongo has anchored the Canucks defensively of late, Alex
Burrows has provided offense, recording eight goals and an
assist in his last nine games. Burrows hasn’t produced versus
the Coyotes this season, recording one assist as Vancouver went
2-1-0 in the first three matchups with Phoenix.
Burrows’ second-period goal against St. Louis opened the scoring
as the Canucks completed a 4-0 homestand and kept the pressure
on Chicago in the battle for the fourth seed in the Western
“It was huge to get that first goal, especially at this time of
year,” said Burrows, who has a career-high 23 goals this season.
“That first goal really gave us the momentum.”
After an 0-5-3 skid from Jan. 9-31 left the Canucks 12 points
behind Calgary, Vancouver’s 16-3-1 surge has trimmed the Flames’
Northwest Division lead to single digits.
Phoenix (29-35-7) has no illusions of making the playoffs and is
focused on improving over the final three weeks of the season
with its new veteran talent. In Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to
Anaheim, Matthew Lombardi made it 2-all with 2:31 left in
regulation, scoring his second goal since being acquired March 4
in the deal that sent Olli Jokinen to Calgary.
Lombardi has two goals and three assists in eight games with the
Scottie Upshall had two assists against the Ducks, one on
Lombardi’s tying goal, and has three goals and three assists for
Phoenix since being acquired in a trade deadline deal that sent
forward Daniel Carcillo to Philadelphia.
“(Matthew and Scottie have) been outstanding from the first game
they got here,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “They play
hard, they’re good kids and they want to get better.”
Ilya Bryzgalov, the likely starter in goal for Phoenix on
Saturday, is 4-13-2 with a 3.16 GAA in his last 19 starts. He’s
played well against the Canucks this season, however, with a
2.02 GAA in three starts.