Vancouver at Arizona
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Thursday, March 5, 2015
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
The Vancouver Canucks are holding a three-point edge over a trio over pursuers for second place in the Pacific Division so it's paramount that they sort out their suddenly shaky goaltending situation. With Ryan Miller sidelined due to a sprained knee, Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom have combined to give up 17 goals in the past three games. Lack is expected to be back in net when the Canucks pay a visit to the reeling Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
Markstrom made his season debut Tuesday against San Jose and permitted three goals on the first four shots, calling the performance a "nightmare." That's an apt description for the current state of the Coyotes, who fell to Anaheim on Tuesday to match a franchise record with their 10th consecutive defeat - all in regulation - while dropping their ninth in a row at home. The teams have split the last eight meetings, including a pair this season.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, RSNP (Vancouver), FSN Arizona
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (36-24-3): Lack, who went 16-17-5 in his first full season in 2013-14, turned aside 40 shots in a 2-1 victory over Boston in the first game after Miller was hurt, but was shredded for five tallies in each of his next two starts. He did play well in relief of Markstrom on Tuesday, stopping 23 of 24 shots and is embracing the challenge ahead. "This is when you want to play," Lack said. "Obviously we have a huge week coming up here. We've kind of invited San Jose back in the chase but these are fun games going forward."
ABOUT THE COYOTES (20-37-7): The wheels have come off for Arizona, which has scored 14 goals during its 10-game skid. The Coyotes now must incorporate young defensemen Klas Dahlbeck and John Moore - both acquired in trades - and waiver-wire pickups Craig Cunningham and Tye McGinn into the lineup. "If you're a young player breaking in, you're not thinking about the situation," coach Dave Tippett said. "You're thinking about I want to become a full-time NHL player, and I want to seize this opportunity. I think you'll see a lot of that in our group."
1. Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, who scored his 900th point Tuesday, is riding an eight-game point streak.
2. Arizona has lost 10 straight on two other occasions - in February 1994 and Nov. 30-Dec. 20, 1980, when the club was based in Winnipeg.
3. Lack lost both career starts to the Coyotes last season by identical 1-0 scores.
PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Coyotes 2
Stats and Records