Canucks Next Game: Vancouver looks to extend streak vs. cellar-dwelling Coyotes


The 32nd-place overall Arizona Coyotes may not seem like a test for Vancouver, but the Canucks won’t want to take the foot off the gas as they seek their fifth straight win

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ARIZONA COYOTES

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22-46-5, 8th in Central Division

at VANCOUVER CANUCKS

36-28-10, 5th in Pacific Division

thursday7 p.m., Rogers Arena.

TV: Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 650.


WHY WATCH

Can Canucks avoid dreaded trap game to tame Coyotes?

For everything the Canucks have accomplished during a four-game win streak to remain relevant in the playoff chase, taking their foot off the gas could drive them into the ditch. However, they don’t lack incentive. On March 1, 2021, Elias Pettersson suffered a season-ending, hyper-extended wrist injury that ended his season and contributed to a slow start to this campaign. He had three points (1-2) Tuesday in a vital 5-4 overtime win over the Golden Knights — including his 26th goal — and has 16 points (8-8) in the last 10 games. He had three points (1-2) in a 5-1 win at Arizona on April 7.

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LEADER POINTS

COYOTES

1. Clayton Keller GP 67 W 28 A 35 PTS 63 (+3)

2. Nick Schmaltz GP 54 W 23 A 29 PTS 52 (+2)

3. Shayne Gostisbehere GP 73 W 11 A 33 PTS 44 (-19)

CANUCKS

1. JT Miller GP 72 W 29 A 57 PTS 86 (+8)

2. Elias Pettersson GP 72 W 26 A 33 PTS 59 (+1)

3. Quinn Hughes GP 68 W 6 A 49 PTS 55 (+6)


SPECIAL TEAMS

COYOTES: PP 13.8% (30th) PK 73.7% (32nd)

CANUCKS: PP 22.9% (9th) PK 74.2% (30th)


THREE THINGS ABOUT THE COYOTES

• Losing moral compass: Clayton Keller had 17 points (7-10) in 14 games last month before his season came to a crashing halt. The club’s leading scorer needs six months to recover after surgery to repair a broken leg suffered March 30 in San Jose. The winger had brief contact late in the third period of a 5-2 win and then went heavily into the boards.

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• Newbies add interest: Audition season also means collegiate additions. Center Jack McBain, a 2018 third-round draft pick who had 33 points (19-14) in 24 games with Boston College, made his NHL debut Tuesday. So did center Nathan Smith, a 2018 third-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets, who had 50 points (19-31) in 38 games with Minnesota State-Mankato.

• Gostisbehere gets it: A four-game losing streak and worst NHL record can zap incentive as injuries and misery mount. But Shayne Gostisbehere said this about playing out the string: “You just can’t wake up in the morning and say: ‘I don’t want to do it.’ There is still stuff to play for and a lot of pride. We’re lucky to be doing what we’re doing.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/benkuzma


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