As Phoenix Coyotes' captain Shane Doan told a reporter Monday: “10-3-2 doesn't get you a lot right now.”

And 10-5-1 gets the Vancouver Canucks even less.

As the new rivals in the Pacific Division face each other for the first time this season tonight in suburban Glendale (6 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040), the fast-starting Coyotes are only third behind the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, and the Canucks are ahead of only the Los Angeles Kings among the division's fab five teams.

“I don't even look,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said when asked this morning about the standings in the National Hockey League's best division. “Really, I don't. I just think if you take care of your business … and don't let anything slip that day, you're going to be OK as you go through the year.

“I don't think our players have enough time or should even pay attention (to the standings) other than what they need to do on that particular day to be a better player.”

Regardless of whether players should or shouldn't pay attention to the standings, they do. The Coyotes lead the Canucks by a point and have played one less game. Vancouver is on pace for 107 points but is only fourth.

“We're battling for positioning in the standings right now and they're playing really well, so this is a huge game for our locker room for sure,” Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo said.

Games here have rarely been easy for the Canucks since Dave Tippett rescued the Coyotes from Wayne Gretzky in 2009 and turned Phoenix into a sum-of-its-parts team that is difficult to break down defensively and, typically, gets great goaltending.

But this season the Coyotes have an offensive dimension they previously lacked. They still score by committee, but their committee has been enlarged and is led by excellent young defencemen Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Phoenix is third in the NHL in scoring and have seven players with at least 10 points.

The Canucks have four.

“They're very well-coached,” Luongo said after the Canucks' optional morning skate. “Dave Tippett, not just in Phoenix but in Dallas, has always had some of the best teams defensively in the league. The fact they're scoring goals makes them that much more dangerous, and that's why they've had success early on. I'm sure they're going to be a team we have to battle with all year.”

And into the playoffs. The realigned divisions come with a new playoff format. The top three teams in each division and two wildcard teams make the playoffs in each conference. And the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup tournament are played largely within the division, which means any extended playoff run by the Canucks or Coyotes will probably run through the other's city.

“I don't even know what the playoff stuff is,” Tortorella insisted. “I don't even know.”