If hockey was only a 30-minute game, the Coyotes would have won easily last night. They got out to 3-0 lead against the Sharks in San Jose in the first period and a half with a goal each from Radim Vrbata, Keith Yandle and even the scoring impaired Paul Bissonnette, but it was all Sharks from that point on. San Jose would score five straight goals, including an inexcusable short-handed goal to Patrick Marleau for their 5-3 victory.
Things don’t get any easier tonight for Phoenix as they face a Canucks team that some would argue is the best team in the entire league. Vancouver leads both leagues in points with 73 and have won three games after going on a four-game winless streak leading up to the break.
Yes they have elite scoring, but the first reason why the Canucks are a Cup contender is the play of Roberto Luongo. After disappointing in last year’s playoffs, Vancouver’s goalie is 23-8-7 with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage. His GAA is good for seventh in the league and he is behind only a few goaltenders in wins. Luongo lost to Phoenix earlier this season, but he has put up good numbers against the Coyotes throughout his career. He will start after Corey Schneider was in net last night in Dallas.
You still can’t dispute how good Vancouver’s goal scoring is though. The Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, lead the team in points with 66 and 62 respectively. Remind you, both guys have only played 51 games. Ryan Kessler isn’t two far off their pace with 48 points. He does enjoy the title as the team’s leading goal scorer with 28 though. Eleven other Canucks have double-digit total in points besides those three. It is hard to find a team that is more stacked offensively than this Canucks squad.
We should know right off the bat what Coyotes team will show up tonight. Will it be the team that dominated San Jose last night for the first 30 minutes or will it be the team that gave up five straight goals to close out the game? Hopefully it will be the first team.