Coyotes Vs. Canucks: Another Close One As Vancouver Edges Phoenix In Shootout, 2-1

VANCOUVER, CANADA - FEBRUARY 13: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks scores on goalie Jason LaBarbera #1 of the Phoenix Coyotes on his shootout attempt which proved to be the game winning goal during NHL action on February 13, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Central division may be the best in the West, but the Pacific division also has its own little battles, as the Coyotes jump just two points back of the Kings as they take a point in a 2-1 shootout loss against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Phoenix Coyotes tied the game late on the road against the Vancouver Canucks, but Vancouver took the extra point after using a six-round shootout to win, 2-1.

Phoenix has surprisingly turned it around their last few games, coming into Monday night's match on a five-game win streak. A lot of that has had to do with their goaltending coming back to life -- mainly with Mike Smith finding his stride in net again, and being dubbed the NHL's first star of the week. However, Smith had the night off, as Jason LaBarbera took on the Canucks and picked up where he left off, making 21 saves and holding Vancouver scoreless on the power play. His only blemish: a David Booth goal in the second period.

Still, the Coyotes continued to battle all game, and with 2:06 left in regulation, Keith Yandle was able to knot the score and send the 1-1 game to overtime. Despite the strong effort by LaBarbera in the shootout to hold the Canucks back, the comeback effort was spoiled, as Ryan Kesler solved the Phoenix backup and won the game, 2-1.

Interesting that a close, entertaining game between the Coyotes and Canucks comes as talks about Phoenix moving to Seattle surface...

The Canucks are 89-0-3 in their last 92 games when leading after 2 periods. But with their propensity to allow things to 'get interesting' late in games, that spectacular record is at risk if the trend continues.

The Coyotes are now 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and can take home the valiant effort and OT point against Vancouver on the road as a small victory, as they are now only two points back of the only team ahead of them, division opponent, the L.A. Kings. This all comes just in time for Thursday, where they play against... the L.A. Kings.

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