LaBarbera Shines As Coyotes Win Defensive Struggle Vs. Vancouver

Coyotes strike three times in third period to complete sweep of Western Canada.

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Coyotes Strike In Third Period To Complete West Canada Sweep Vs. Canucks

It took over 50 minutes of hockey before a goal was tallied for either side, but that one goal set off a chain reaction that favored the Coyotes in their 3-1 win over the Canucks on Friday night.

Despite the two sides combining for 48 shots in the first two periods of play, 28 for the Canucks, neither side was able to notch a score.

The first goal finally came with the Coyotes on a 5-on-3 advantage, with Radim Vrbata finding a lose puck and backhanding it past Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Not a minute later, on that same power play, the Coyotes struck again. This one came from Shane Doan, who struck from the point for the Yotes' second goal with the man advantage and the 2-0 lead.

The NHL's best squad, Vancouver attempted to get back into this one after being hit with the quick attack from Phoenix, but were unable to do so. Their only form of solace came in a Christian Ehrhoff goal off of a rebound from Jason LaBarbera.

That goal would make little difference, though, as Lee Stempniak went on to add the empty netter to seal the 3-1 win for Phoenix.

The real story of the night was Jason LaBarbera. In for a rare appearance to give a bit of rest to Ilya Bryzgalov, LaBarbera made 46 saves on a potent Canucks attack on his way to being named the game's 1st Star. Quite a step up from his last performance, in which he surrendered eight goals in that 8-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the win, the Coyotes complete the six-game sweep of Western Canada, and become the first team all season to defeat the top seeded Canucks twice on their own ice.

After a successful road swing north of the border, the Yotes will return to the desert, where a pair of Central Division foes will await them. The first test comes on Sunday, when Phoenix hosts the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.


Phoenix Coyotes Bring Hot Streak To Vancouver Canucks

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to extend their recent hot streak against the NHL's top team, as they visit the Vancouver Canucks for tonight's Western Conference clash at Rogers Arena.

The Coyotes have won four straight games and have gained a point in six straight tilts, posting a 5-0-1 record over that stretch. That surge has allowed Phoenix to move into fourth in the West -- two points ahead of Los Angeles and three points behind the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks.

Vancouver, however, is even hotter than the Coyotes with victories in each of its last seven games. Also, the Canucks have already clinched the Northwest Division title, assuring them of at least one of the West's top-three playoff seeds. Vancouver is currently 11 points ahead of Detroit for the conference's No. 1 seed.

With 103 points, the Canucks are also just two away from tying the club record for points in a season. Vancouver set that franchise mark during the 2006-07 campaign.

A victory tonight would not only give Vancouver the best point total in franchise history, but would also match the Canucks' longest winning streak of the season at eight straight victories. Alain Vigneault's club last won eight in a row from Dec. 23-Jan. 7.

Tonight marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between Phoenix and the Canucks, The Coyotes won in Vancouver on Nov. 21, but Phoenix has lost two straight against the Canucks since then. The clubs have split the last eight encounters overall and Phoenix has lost four of its last six games in Vancouver.

The Coyotes won last night in Edmonton, notching a 3-1 decision at Rexall Place. Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata each posted a goal and one assist to help lead Phoenix to the win.

Lee Stempniak also tallied while Ilya Bryzgalov made 35 saves for the Coyotes.

"It was one of those nights where we weren't disciplined enough," said Phoenix captain Shane Doan. "We gave them lots of opportunities but thank goodness 'Bryzzie' was as good as he was."

Phoenix has a solid 21-12-5 record as the guest this year and tonight they'll try to end a four-game road trip with a perfect record.

Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight.

The Canucks picked up win No. 7 on their hot streak with Wednesday's comeback victory over the visitingColorado Avalanche. Henrik Sedin scored two third- period goals to help Vancouver post a 4-2 win over the Avs and clinch their third straight Northwest Division title.

Vancouver fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but Maxim Lapierre and Alexandre Burrows scored goals to even the score before Sedin added his two markers to put the Canucks in control for good.

Daniel Sedin collected two assists and Cory Schneider made 27 saves in the win.

No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected to be back in net tonight. He is 10-8-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average in his career against Phoenix.

Canucks forward Manny Malhotra will miss tonight's game after getting hit in the eye by a puck during Wednesday's game. Malhotra, who is sidelined indefinitely, is expected to be replaced in the lineup tonight by the recently called Victor Oreskovich from the AHL's Manitoba Moose.

Vancouver is completing a three-game homestand tonight and has an excellent 25-7-5 record as the host this season.

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