PHOENIX COYOTES (36-32-5) at
EDMONTON OILERS (36-32-5)
7:38 p.m. MDT
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Edmonton Oilers and Phoenix Coyotes are both on the cusp of that eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and tonight they face one another in a match-up that could go a long way to determine which of these teams will continue to stay in the race down the stretch.
Both these teams are tied for 10th place at 77 points – three points back of ninth place Nashville and seven back of Calgary, Vancouver and Colorado who are all tied for sixth. Last night, the Coyotes dropped a 3-1 decision to the Canucks in Vancouver.
The Oilers have won nine of their last 11 games to get themselves back in the race. Included in those wins are a pair of huge victories this past weekend. They defeated the Coyotes on Saturday night by a score of 5-2 and then edged San Jose Sunday night 2-1 in a shootout despite being outshot 49 to 23.
Phoenix has had some struggles of late with a record of 5-7-1 in their last 13. They have lost all three meetings to the Oilers this season.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATES (11:44 AM):
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson will be starting tonight's game once again. The rest of the OIlers lineup also remains the same.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson is likely to get his third consecutive start tonight after a pair of masterful performances on the weekend. Saturday against the Coyotes, Roloson stopped 38 of 40 shots and Sunday in San Jose he stopped 48 of 49 shots plus three of four Sharks in the shootout… Kyle Brodziak has played very well against the Coyotes this season. In three games, he has three goals and five points with a +5 rating. On Saturday, Brodziak scored a goal in Phoenix… Ales Hemsky
scored his 20th goal of the season on Sunday in San Jose, marking the first time in his career that he reached the 20-goal mark. Hemsky has four points – a goal and three assists – in three games versus the Coyotes.
COYOTES TO WATCH:
Shane Doan has a goal and two assists for three points in three games against the Oilers this season to lead all Phoenix players. Doan had 24 goals and 67 points through 71 games which puts him one off his career high in points of 68 set in 2003-04. Doan, who leads Phoenix in scoring, had five goals in seven games before last night including one against Edmonton on Saturday… Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled this season against the Oilers. In two games, he has a 5.39 goals-against average with a record of 0-2-0 and an .843 save percentage. Bryzgalov has lost six of his seven starts against Edmonton all-time including the 2006 playoffs.
Edmonton – 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.
Since the start of the 2008 calendar year, Edmonton has played much better on home ice. During those 16 games, they are 12-4-0. Prior to that, the club was 8-11-1 at Rexall Place… The Oilers now have six more points than they had through all of last season when they finished the year with a record of 32-43-7 for 71 points. They are seven points back of their pace from 2005-06, the last season the club made the playoffs… Last season, the Oilers had 195 goals scored while this year they’ve already tallied 203… The Oilers have scored a power play goal in each of their last six games and have not been blanked with the man advantage in consecutive games since January 29 and February 1. During that 19-game stretch, the Oilers power play is 18-for-77 (23.4%).
- Pre-game comments from Brodziak, Glencross, Cogliano, Gagner, Reasoner, Roloson & MacTavish: 700K
Pisani's return exemplifies perseverence, dedication -
The Oilers' Fernando Pisani wondered if he would ever play again after a devastating attack of ulcerative colitis. As Edmonton's nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, he makes a good case for winning the award. ...more
The Other Side
- STARS SEARCH FOR FROZEN FOUR - Kyle Turris, Blake Wheeler, Kevin Porter, Chad Kolarik, and Chris Summers may all join the Coyotes roster over the next couple of years. Right now, they all have their eyes set on a berth in College Hockey’s Frozen Four. ...more
Item of the Game
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Vote for the play of the week! - Edmontonoilers.com regularly features the top plays from a recent collection of games and gives fans a chance to vote on their favourite goal, hit or save. Here's your chance to vote on the top play from the past six games. ...more
From the Wire
With the playoffs less than a month away, the Edmonton Oilers have been taking advantage of every opportunity to return to the postseason. A victory over one of their closest competitors in the standings would only bring them closer to that goal.
The surging Oilers continue their pursuit of a playoff berth when they open a four-game homestand against the stumbling Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday in the teams' second meeting in four days.
A three-game losing streak from Feb. 16-22 dropped Edmonton (36-32-5) into 14th place in the Western Conference. The Oilers, though, have reeled off nine wins in their last 11 games to move into a tie with Phoenix (36-32-5) for 10th, seven points behind Calgary, Vancouver and Colorado, who share the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.
The Oilers won the last two contests on their three-game road trip behind the stellar play of backup goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who has made just three starts since Feb. 1. Roloson made 48 saves before stopping three of four shootout attempts in Sunday's 2-1 victory at San Jose, which had won 11 straight.
"It was no different than any other day," said Roloson, who turned aside 38 shots in Saturday's 5-2 win at Phoenix. "I basically try to help my guys win. I can't control what the coaching staff says about who's playing. ... I was able to see most of their shots. Some I didn't see, and I got lucky. I was in position, and that was key."
Ales Hemsky scored in regulation, while Fernando Pisani notched the decisive shootout goal for the Oilers, winners of five of their last six overall.
For Edmonton to reach the playoffs for the eighth time in 11 seasons after missing them in 2006-07, it must capitalize on its nine remaining games - all against conference foes.
The first of those matchups comes against the Coyotes, who have been limited to two goals in each of their three losses to Edmonton this season. A victory Tuesday would give the Oilers a sweep of the season series for the first time since 2001-02.
Roloson has led the Oilers to two victories over the Coyotes this season, and Saturday's win improved him to 8-8-0 with two ties and a 2.47 goals-against average in 21 all-time starts versus Phoenix. Roloson is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in three games against the Coyotes at Rexall Place, where the Oilers are 8-1-0 overall since Feb. 4.
Phoenix, seeking its first postseason appearance since 2001-02, has dropped four of its last six games, including a 3-1 defeat at Vancouver on Monday. Daniel Carcillo scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who are 5-7-1 since winning three in a row from Feb. 14-18.
"We're in tough. We know that," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said.
The Coyotes faltered on all four power-play chances Monday, dropping them to 4-for-33 in those opportunities in eight games this month. Converting with the man advantage won't be easy against the Oilers, who have killed off 84.7 percent of their short-handed situations - among the best marks in the NHL.
Ilya Bryzgalov is 1-3-0 with a 3.73 GAA in four career games against the Oilers, including two losses this season.
Shane Doan - the Coyotes' leader with 43 assists and 67 points - was held without a point Monday, but has five goals in his last eight games, including one in Saturday's loss to Edmonton. He has nine goals and 39 points in 41 career games against the Oilers.