A winning road trip helped the Phoenix Coyotes match their longest overall run of the season. To continue that success, they’ll need to overcome their struggles at home.
The Coyotes seek their fifth straight victory, as well as improved play at Jobing.com Arena, when they meet the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Phoenix (17-16-0) finished 5-1-0 on its season-high six-game road trip, which began in Los Angeles on Dec. 8. The Coyotes won each of their last four games on the trip, concluding that stretch with a 3-2 shootout victory over San Jose on Thursday that helped them match the four-game run they had Nov. 17-24.
Right wing Shane Doan scored a short-handed goal to tie the game with 41.5 seconds left in regulation, and rookie Peter Mueller scored in the first round of the shootout to give Phoenix its longest win streak since a seven-game run from Dec. 28, 2006-Jan. 9, 2007.
“We knew (the Sharks) had given it to us pretty good in the previous games and we were at the end of a long trip and we didn’t want to go home halfway,” said Doan, who leads the Coyotes with 26 points. “We wanted to finish the whole trip, and it was big for us.”
The Coyotes are opening a four-game homestand Saturday, and will play six of their next seven at Jobing.com Arena.
Despite winning three of their last four at home, the Coyotes have struggled there this season, posting the fewest wins of any team in the league (5-8-0).
Their woes at home have been evident against Vancouver, which is 5-2-0 with a tie against the Coyotes on the road since Nov. 9, 2002. The Canucks have also won nine of the last 11 overall meetings in the series, going 3-1-0 last season.
The Canucks (19-12-4) enter this game having won two straight and three of their last five following Thursday’s 3-2 home victory over Dallas.
Left wing Daniel Sedin scored a pair of goals - his team-leading 13th and 14th - in the third period for the Canucks, who are trying to win three in a row for the third time this season.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game. It always is against (Dallas). Low scoring,” said Sedin, who is second on the team with 33 points. “But we stuck with it and got some chances in the third.”
Sedin’s second goal of the period came on the power play, giving the Canucks their first man-advantage goal in 17 opportunities. Roberto Luongo made 33 saves for his second straight win after missing four contests due to bruised ribs.
Luongo is 2-4-0 with a 3.15 goals-against average in six games against the Coyotes, losing both road starts after allowing seven goals in those appearances.
Vancouver has lost two straight and three of its last four on the road, but has not dropped more than two consecutive games away from home since a six-game skid last Nov. 23-Dec. 22.
The Canucks had their four-game winning streak against the Coyotes snapped with a 3-1 loss at Jobing.com Arena on April 8 in the teams’ most recent meeting. Vancouver hopes to avoid losing consecutive road games to Phoenix for the first time since going 0-3-1 with a tie from March 11, 2000-March 7, 2002.