Coyotes-Canucks Preview

The Associated Press

Behind Ryan Kesler's four goals, the Vancouver Canucks have won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.

Now Kesler and the Canucks hope to extend that success to Rogers Arena, where they have mostly struggled going into a five-game homestand which begins Friday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"We played well enough to win back-to-back games the last couple weeks, but it didn't happen," captain Henrik Sedin told the team's official website. "We feel better about ourselves now."

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Two nights after scoring twice and getting the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Carolina, Kesler did the same Tuesday with two third-period goals from close range in a 3-1 win over Nashville.

"It was a battle and there wasn't a lot of room out there, but we found a way to win again, and that's what we need to keep doing," Kesler said. "You've got to fight to get to those tough areas and we did tonight."

Vancouver (15-10-5) closed a 3-1-0 road trip by posting two straight wins for the first time since a four-game run Oct. 22-28, and now is after similar success at home. The Canucks have lost eight of 11 at Rogers Arena and haven't won consecutive home games since their first two of the season.

The recent hot streak gives Kesler a team-high 14 goals after scoring four last season when he was limited to 17 games due to a broken foot and shoulder injury.

He's played in every game this season, and the Canucks are back to leaning on him. They're 8-1-1 when Kesler has scored and 6-0-0 when he has at least two points.

"Kesler has been playing really well, he was probably our best player tonight," coach John Tortorella said after Tuesday's win. "He put us on his shoulders there and I thought led the way."

More production out of Kesler on home ice could help the Canucks build off the road trip. He has three goals and three assists in 13 home games, compared to 11 goals and five assists in 17 on the road.

Kesler is also after a goal in a third straight contest against the Coyotes, who lead the Canucks by a point for eighth place in the Western Conference and fourth in the Pacific Division.

Phoenix (16-8-4) has allowed at least four goals in five of its last seven games, going 2-4-1.

The latest disappointment was Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Calgary, which evened Phoenix's record two games into a four-game trip.

Defenseman Keith Yandle scored to give the Coyotes a lead in the first period. He has goals in consecutive games and has never scored in three straight in his eight-year career.

"I think we dominated that first period, so kind of unlucky to come out tied 1-1," Yandle said. "But at the same time, you have to come out in the second with a little more jump. We knew they were going to push back and we've got to do a better job there."

The Coyotes allowed a power-play goal for the third straight game, dropping their penalty kill to 76.9 percent, one of the worst in the league.

The Canucks have allowed a league-low 11 power-play goals, shutting down 89.0 percent of opponents' chances. Their own 14.1 percent power-play mark has essentially canceled that out, though they've scored on it in six straight games for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Phoenix won 3-2 in a shootout at home Nov. 5 in the teams' lone meeting after Vancouver took two of three last season.

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