Vancouver Canucks (24-14-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (21-16-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday January 16, 2014, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Phoenix Coyotes -110 / Vancouver Canucks +100 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Canucks play their second game in as many nights as they travel from Anaheim to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes.
Vancouver went into Anaheim last night holding onto the seventh place in the Western Conference playoff picture but fell behind 2-0 after the first period to the league’s top team. The Canucks are in tough in the game’s best division as the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings have sent them into a fourth place standing which is very unfamiliar territory for the perennial Western Conference powers and while there is still plenty of time to get back into the mix they will be in tough to close such a large gap. The Canucks have been a team searching for a new identity under the direction of John Tortorella and they certainly have become a tougher team to play against but losing some of that offensive flare in the process has them behind the eight ball a bit and the Vancouver media has been all over it. The Canucks will look for a victory on the road against the Coyotes who trail Vancouver by six points in the Pacific division.
The Coyotes have hit a rough patch and haven’t been able to right the ship lately as they were once Western Conference contenders but have since slipped into fifth place in the division and out of the playoff picture entirely. Phoenix has been a team on the rise over the past few years as their on ice success overshadowed their off ice financial troubles as they were a constant in the Western Conference playoffs and even made it to the West finals against the Kings two seasons ago. However, they have come on hard times of late as they simply don’t have the man power to complete with the game’s top teams and to me they are a fringe team at best and will likely be on the outside looking in in April. They Coyotes do have a strong goaltender in Mike Smith and some of the better young defenders in the league but their offensive depth needs to be addressed and until they do so I think they will struggle in the revamped Pacific division. While the Canucks are in the back to back here I think they get it done and hand Phoenix another loss in the desert.