The Vancouver Canucks will try to snap a three-game home losing streak Saturday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes.
The Canucks are just 3-6-1 on home ice this season and have started their current four-game homestand with ugly back-to-back 5-1 losses to Washington on Tuesday and Florida on Thursday.
Those defeats came on the heels of an impressive three-game road sweep of defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado (4-3), Western Conference-leading Vegas (5-1) and San Jose (4-3 in OT) to improve to 6-6-2 on the road.
Only San Jose (two) and Arizona (one) have fewer home victories than Vancouver. The Coyotes at least have an excuse. They will be playing their 12th game of an NHL record-tying 14-game road swing while a locker room annex is completed at the team’s temporary home, Mullett Arena on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona is playing 20 of its first 24 contests on the road and is 1-2-1 at home.
Thursday night’s loss was especially frustrating for the Canucks, who allowed three goals in the span of just 59 seconds at the end of the first period to fall behind 3-0. And starting goaltender Thatcher Demko had to be helped off with a right leg injury after allowing the third goal by Ryan Lomberg.
“I just thought we had no pushback,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It was like we were just watching them play.
“It’s unfortunate. We’ll go back to the drawing board. How we can play so good one week and then so bad the next week is pretty mind-boggling. I would have put us up against anybody after we played Colorado and Vegas, and then came back at 5:00 and still beat a San Jose team that won their next game 4-0 and took the Leafs to the wire.
“It’s hard to understand why we’re doing this at home when we’re playing good on the road right now.”
Boudreau and the players made it clear they weren’t pleased with the team’s effort in the losses to the Capitals and Panthers.
“The great road trip that we had, we wanted to come here and keep that ball rolling and we haven’t done that in the first two games at home, and we have to figure it out quick,” Canucks center Bo Horvat said.
Arizona, starting a three-game swing through western Canada that also includes stops at Calgary and Edmonton, brings a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) into the contest following a 5-3 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday.
The Coyotes led that contest 7:01 into the second period, 3-1, but the Kings rallied to tie it later in the period on a power-play goal by Trevor Moore and a 4-on-4 score by Carl Grundstrom. Anze Kopitar then scored what proved to be the game-winner 5:22 into the third period.
“Going up 3-1, (we) definitely have to find a way to win that game,” said Arizona forward Christian Fischer, who scored a short-handed goal in the first period. “We gave up a lot. Our team is usually not like that. That’s not characteristic of us. We’re usually very good defensively. We let a lot get through us tonight.”
The Coyotes, who have been on the road since their last home game back on Nov. 3, return home on Dec. 9 when they host the Boston Bruins.
–Field Level Media