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Coyotes at Canucks preview |

COYOTES (27-28-5) at CANUCKS (26-27-7)

10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-A, NHL.TV


The Game

The Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks will try to pass one other and move closer to the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference when they play at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

Arizona and Vancouver each has 59 points, two behind the Colorado Avalanche, who hold the second wild card, and Chicago Blackhawks, and one point behind the Minnesota Wild. 

Vancouver is 2-5-1 in its past eight games after going 4-1-1 in its previous six.

Ryan Spooner, acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers for Sam Gagner on Saturday, will make his Canucks debut on a line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. 

Forward Richard Panik is expected to return after missing three games with an illness for the Coyotes, who are 4-2-0 in their past six games after a five-game losing streak (0-4-1).


Players to watch

Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper is 4-1-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and one shutout in his past five starts. 

Canucks center Elias Pettersson has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 11 games since returning from a knee injury.


They said it

“We are scratching and clawing all year and we can see in the standings we are getting closer and closer, but we need an extra push here to get above.” — Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson 

“Every point matters now. Every game matters and these kind of games are like playoff games for us, so it’s going to be fun games, hopefully for the fans as well.” — Canucks center Elias Petersson


Coyotes projected lineup

Lawson CrouseDerek StepanJosh Archibald

Conor GarlandNick CousinsClayton Keller

Alex GalchenyukJordan Weal — Richard Panik

Mario KempeBrad RichardsonVinnie Hinostroza

Oliver Ekman-LarssonNiklas Hjalmarsson

Jakob ChychrunAlex Goligoski

Jordan OesterleKevin Connauton

Darcy Kuemper

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Ilya Lyubushkin, Christian Fischer

Injured: Christian Dvorak (upper body), Jason Demers (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body), Michael Grabner (eye), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)


Canucks projected lineup

Ryan Spooner — Elias Pettersson — Brock Boeser

Josh LeivoBo HorvatTyler Motte

Antoine RousselAdam GaudetteMarkus Granlund

Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTim Schaller

Ben HuttonTroy Stecher

Ashton Sautner — Erik Gudbranson

Derrick PouliotAlex Biega

Jacob Markstrom

Marek Mazanec

Scratched: Nikolay Goldobin, Luke Schenn, Zack MacEwen

Injured: Jake Virtanen (rib), Christopher Tanev (ankle), Brandon Sutter (lower body), Alexander Edler (concussion), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Thatcher Demko (knee)


Status report

The Coyotes sent forward Michael Bunting to Tucson of the American Hockey League to make room for Panik. … Edler and Demko skated on their own but there is still no timetable for their return. … Sautner is making his season debut. He had two assists in his first five NHL games last season.


Stat pack

Galchenyuk has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past six games. … Boeser has scored in consecutive games.

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