Oilers meet Coyotes for the first time this season
PHOENIX COYOTES (16-13-4) at
EDMONTON OILERS (14-14-3)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
|EDMONTON, CANADA - MARCH 18: Fernando Pisani #34 of the Edmonton Oilers checks Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes on March 18, 2008 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers play their final game before the short Christmas break tonight when they meet the high-flying Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place.
Phoenix has picked up at least a point in their last six games (4-0-2) and overall have only lost three times in their last 13 outings (8-3-2). Their recent success has vaulted them into seventh place in the Western Conference.
However, most of the club's success has been on home ice. Away from home the Coyotes are 5-9-2 this season including 0-2-1 in their last three road games.
After opening December with three straight wins, Edmonton is on a bit of a slide with only one win in their last five outings (1-3-1). The Oilers have played well for the most part, outshooting their opponents in three of those five games. The Oilers have fired 40 or more shots in three of their last seven - their three highest shot totals of the season.
Last game, the club fired 53 shots on the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Liam Reddox
gets an offensive opportunity tonight as he lines up on the second line left side with Erik Cole on the right and Sam Gagner
down the middle. Reddox has played 12 games for the Oilers since being called up from Springfield (AHL) and has a goal and an assist for two points, six penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating... Shawn Horcoff
and Sheldon Souray
are tied for second in scoring for the Oilers with 22 points apiece… Horcoff, who has led Oilers forwards in time on ice in all but five of Edmonton’s first 30 games, is averaging 21:23 minutes per game and has scored 8-14-22… Souray, who is the Oilers overall leader in ice time at 24:59, is seventh in scoring among NHL blueliners with 8-14-22.
COYOTES TO WATCH:
Shane Doan leads the Coyotes in scoring with 30 points through 33 games thus far. He also has 14 goals which puts him number one on the team in that category... Free agent signing Olli Jokinen has 10 goals and 21 points in 27 games to rank second on the club... Edmonton native Steve Reinprecht is third in Phoenix scoring with eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 31 games. He had 16 goals and 46 points throughout all of last season... Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has carried the bulk of Phoenix's workload, appearing in 27 of the team's 33 games. He has a 12-11-3 record with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Edmonton— Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Phoenix—The Coyotes are healthy.
Tonight’s game is the first of four meetings between the Oilers and Coyotes and the first of two visits to Rexall Place by Phoenix… the Coyotes return to Edmonton on January 18th, while the Oilers visit Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ on February 16th and March 26th… the Oilers lead the all-time series with the Coyotes with a 91-48-11-5 (W-L-T-OL) record in 155 games since both teams joined the NHL from the old World Hockey Association in 1979-80… Edmonton is 50-21-6-1 in 78 games at Rexall Place and are 27-9-3-5 in 44 games since the Coyotes moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg for the 1996-97 season… tonight’s game is the last for the Oilers prior to Christmas… the Oilers return to the ice on Boxing Day as they visit Vancouver to take on the Canucks for the third time since December 10th… following the game at General Motors Place, the Oilers return home to play seven of eight games at home from December 28th to January 11th, beginning with games against Nashville (Dec. 28) and Ottawa (Dec. 30).
Oilers Gift Cards now available
- Oilers Gift Cards are currently available in the Oilers Store and in all Mac's locations throughout Oil Country.They are available in $25 and $50 denominations. Follow the link for more information. ...more
The Other Side
- Coyotes look to extend streak - The Coyotes will attempt to stretch their point streak to seven games Monday night at Rexall Place in Edmonton against the Oilers, a team they have yet to play this season. | 'Yotes Quotes at Edmonton | Sulliman on Edmonton | ...more
- Kyle Turris Blog: Playing Red Wings was a blast - The past few weeks have been very hectic and exciting for Coyotes rookie Kyle Turris. In his latest blog entry, Turris writes about playing against the Stanley Cup champs for the first time. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- This or That? with Dustin Penner - Things aren't always black and white, but we made Dustin Penner choose Option A or Option B on a variety of topics, including after-dinner drinks, sunny vacation destinations, and sports flicks. Click to check out his favourites. ...more
- Happy Homecoming for Souray - Coming home. That was the bottom-line story Sheldon Souray, the 32-year-old defenceman who grew up idolizing the Oilers. Souray particularly remembers carefully studying the way former Oiler Kevin Lowe played defence. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers had to weather a tough road-heavy schedule early. But now that they're finally playing some games at home, they're not finding it to be much of an advantage.
The Oilers will try to avoid a third straight loss at Rexall Place as the Phoenix Coyotes head north on Monday, looking to earn at least a point for the seventh straight game.
Eighteen of Edmonton's first 26 games were on the road, a stretch the Oilers weathered by going 10-8-0 as part of their 13-11-2 overall record.
Four of the Oilers' last five games have been at home, but they've lost three of them, getting shut out by Florida and giving up nine goals to Chicago before Friday's 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim. After going 23-17-1 at Rexall Place last season, they're 4-5-3 there in 2008-09, losing eight of their last 10 at home.
They've been outscored 15-6 while losing three straight overall and falling into last place in the Northwest Division, but they're hoping a late comeback against the Ducks is a sign of progress.
Edmonton (14-14-3) trailed 2-0 after two periods - a stretch of the game coach Craig MacTavish said "looked like it was a train wreck" - but the Oilers outshot Anaheim 21-4 in the final 20 minutes of regulation, tying the game before falling in the shootout.
"You have to take some confidence away from battling back like that," forward Shawn Horcoff said. "It was a character point for us tonight."
The Coyotes (16-13-4) have been racking up plenty of points recently, winning their last two games to improve to 4-0-2 over their last six.
The leader in Saturday's 2-0 win over Columbus was Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season. Bryzgalov has been outstanding recently, stopping 91 of 94 shots over his last three starts.
"He has the ability to be a special player, and no question, he was the difference in this hockey game," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He seems to be seeing the puck very well, and this is as solid as I've seen him play."
Bryzgalov's - and Phoenix's - success, though, hasn't always translated to the road, where the Coyotes are 5-9-2. Bryzgalov is 4-9-1 with a 3.43 goals-against average away from Phoenix as this contest opens a three-game road trip.
The goalie has also struggled against the Oilers, going 1-3-0 with a 4.19 GAA lifetime against them and getting pulled after allowing three first-period goals of Phoenix's 8-4 loss in Edmonton on March 18.
The Coyotes went 0-4-0 against Edmonton in 2007-08, and were outscored 13-6 in their two visits to Rexall Place. A bronze statue of Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup stands outside the building, a tribute to the four Stanley Cup titles the Oilers won while Gretzky was their star player in the 1980s.
Monday's game features one of the worst power play units in the league - Phoenix's - against Edmonton's equally bad penalty killers.
The Oilers have allowed six power play goals in their last three games, ranking 29th in the league (74.3 percent), but the Coyotes are without a goal on the man advantage in their last three contests. They rank 28th in that category (13.9 percent).