EDMONTON OILERS (34-31-5) at
PHOENIX COYOTES (36-30-5)
8:08 p.m. MDT
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
Following a disappointing setback on Thursday night, the Edmonton Oilers need to regroup quickly as they will be playing a key game tonight against a team directly above them in the standings.
The Phoenix Coyotes have 77 points and sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. The Oilers have 73 points and are in a tie for 12th spot. However, tonight is the first of two meetings between these two teams that will take place in the next four days. If Edmonton can win them both, they will be right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Tonight's game has huge implications for the Coyotes as well. They are only 5-5-1 in their last 11 games but rattled off huge victories this past week. They defeated Anaheim 3-2 in the shootout on Tuesday followed with a 2-0 win against the eighth-place Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
This is the third of four meetings between the Oilers and Coyotes. Edmonton won the previous two.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (1:43 PM):
Dwayne Roloson gets the start in goal tonight for the Oilers.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Kyle Brodziak has played well against the Coyotes this season with two goals and four points through two games. He also has a plus/minus rating of +4 versus Phoenix... Robert Nilsson only played one of the two prior meetings between these teams but he had a goal and an assist in that game, helping Edmonton to a 5-2 victory... Goaltender Dwayne Roloson will start in net tonight. He last started a game back on February 1 against the Dallas Stars. Since that time, Mathieu Garon has started 17 in a row. Roloson has made three relief appearances during that stretch including last game Thursday in Colorado. In his career against the Coyotes, Roloson has played 20 games, with a 7-8-2 record, 2.50 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. He allowed two goals on 43 shots to help Edmonton to a 4-2 win at Phoenix earlier this season.
COYOTES TO WATCH:
Phoenix captain Shane Doan is tied with rookie Peter Mueller with two points in two games against Edmonton this season. Doan leads all active Coyotes with 38 points (eight goals) in 40 games. Doan, who is tied with Keith Tkachuk for the Jets/Coyotes franchise record in game-winning goals with 40, is the team's leading scorer this season with 66 points in 69 games... Martin Hanzal comes into tonight's game on a three-game scoring streak. He has four assists in those games... Radim Vrbata is enjoying a career season with 27 goals and 53 points - both career highs. He's also a +10... With 49 points, defenceman Ed Jovanovski ranks third on Phoenix in scoring and has hit a new career high in both points and assists in his 12th NHL season.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (flu) is questionable. Geoff Sanderson (back) is questionable. Ethan Moreau (broken leg) is out. Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Phoenix – The Coyotes are healthy.
The last time Phoenix defeated Edmonton on home ice was back on October 26, 2006 when they won by a 6-2 score... All time, the Coyotes/Jets franchise has a record of 53-85-15 in 153 games played... The Coyotes only have 69 man games lost to injury all season long while Edmonton will break their franchise record tonight for man games lost due to injury or illness. A total of 15 players have missed 286 games due to injury or illness this season and with Moreau, Horcoff, Souray and Torres all out for the season that will push it towards the 290 mark once tonight's game begins... Edmonton's power play has connected on one of seven chances versus Phoenix this season while the Coyotes' has connected on one of eight opportunities.
Andrew Cogliano donates record-setting equipment to the Hockey Hall of Fame
- After his record setting night against the St. Louis Blues on March 11th, Oilers forward Andrew Cogliano
has donated his game used stick and gloves to the Hockey Hall of Fame. ...more
The Other Side
- Coyotes hunting for postseason - Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray owns a pizzeria in Montreal with former teammate Martin Brodeur. In this video feature, Souray invites us into his kitchen and shows us how to make a delicious gourmet pizza. ...more
- Coyotes pull closer to top eight - Niko Kapanen opened the scoring in the second period, and Daniel Winnik iced the game in the third, as the Coyotes pulled within 3 pts of the final playoff spot in the West with a 2-0 win over the Canucks. Photos | Gretzky | Doan | Winnik | Hanzal. ...more
- The Shootout Edition - The introduction of the shootout to post-lockout NHL regular season games has had fans on their feet around the league since it debuted. This year, the Coyotes have made it even better! ...more
Odds and Ends
- Oilers hockey school adds another week - Edmonton Oilers Hockey School is expanding for an additional week of classes due to overwhelming demand. The doors to the summer hockey school will now open from a week earlier, from July 20 to August 16, 2008. ...more
- Cooking with Sheldon Souray - Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray owns a pizzeria in Montreal with former teammate Martin Brodeur. In this video feature, Souray invites us into his kitchen and shows us how to make a delicious gourmet pizza. ...more
From the Wire
After beating two teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, the Phoenix Coyotes hope to build off the momentum when they face a team that they've struggled against recently.
The Coyotes close out a five-game homestand Saturday when they meet the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to make a push for the West's final playoff spot.
Edmonton (34-32-5) is four points behind 10th-place Phoenix (36-30-5) in the West, but the Oilers are 2-0 against the Coyotes this season and have won six of the last eight meetings between the teams, including three wins in their last four visits to Phoenix.
The Coyotes, though, are coming off a big 2-0 win over Vancouver on Thursday following Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim. Niko Kapanen and Daniel Winnik each scored Thursday for Phoenix, which outshot Vancouver 45-24, including 24-7 in the opening period.
The Canucks own the final playoff spot in the West with 80 points, two ahead of ninth-place Nashville.
"It's a playoff game, pretty much, for us," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "We know that, and I'm sure they know that."
Phoenix has 11 games left in the regular season, with seven coming against teams ahead of it in the West.
"Every game is do or die for us," said goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who recorded 24 saves Thursday for his third shutout of the season and fifth of his career.
Bryzgalov, who has won three of his last four starts, is 1-2-0 with a 3.62 goals-against average in his career against Edmonton. The Coyotes picked him off waivers in November hoping he can help them make the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02. Bryzgalov won three of four playoff starts last season for the Stanley Cup champion Ducks.
"He's the real deal," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He's a pretty special young man, and he's made us a better team."
Edmonton's playoff hopes took a big hit Thursday with a 5-1 loss to Colorado, ending its three-game winning streak. The Oilers also came in having won seven of eight, but haven't been able to make much of a move in the standings.
After scoring 10 goals in its previous two games, Edmonton trailed 3-0 before Sam Gagner scored on the power play for the Oilers' only score Thursday night.
Gagner has two goals and four assists in the last three games, while fellow rookie Andrew Cogliano, who had four goals during the winning streak, was held without a point against the Avalanche.
"We looked sluggish, lethargic," coach Craig MacTavish said. "When you have that problem, you have to rely on your smarts and play around your lack of energy. We made mistakes we haven't been making."
Mathieu Garon, who was in net during the winning streak, didn't last two periods. He had 11 saves before Dwayne Roloson took over 4:26 into the second.
Garon is 5-3-1 with a 2.36 GAA in 10 games - nine starts - against the Coyotes. He was in net for Edmonton's 5-2 home win over Phoenix on Jan. 10.
The teams meet for the final time Tuesday in Edmonton.