Preview: Coyotes vs. Oilers
PHOENIX COYOTES (23-18-5) at
EDMONTON OILERS (22-19-3)
Start Time: 7:08 p.m. MST (Ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m.)
Television: Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
LINEUP UPDATE: Ales Hemsky will make his return to the Oilers lineup and take his place on the top line alongside Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner... Liam Reddox moves to the second line to play on the left side with Sam Gagner and Erik Cole... Potulny draws out with Brule on the fourth line with Brodziak and MacIntyre... Dwayne Roloson gets the start in goal.
|Shawn Horcoff digs for the puck in front of Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist.
(photo: Andy Devlin/Edmnton Oilers Hockey Club)
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
Midway through the 2008-09 season, the battle for a playoff spot is nearly as tight as it can be as only four points currently separate ninth place from fifth place in the Western Conference.
Tonight, after the Oilers organization retires Glenn Anderson’s #9 up to the Rexall rafters, the Edmonton Oilers (22-19-3) will have a chance to make up some ground on the Phoenix Coyotes (23-18-5) who hold the sixth spot with 51 points and are tied in points with Anaheim.
The Oilers dominated the Coyotes in recent years going 28-9-3-5 in 45 games since the Coyotes moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg for the 1996-97 season. Edmonton won all four games versus Phoenix last season outscoring the Coyotes 22-10.
In the first meeting this season, Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead and eventually won 4-2 on the strength of two third period powerplay goals.
Phoenix is coming off a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames last night at the Pengrowth Saddledome. They are 4-1 in their last five games.
Tonight’s game is the first of a season-long tying six-game homestand. The Oilers will next take on Columbus on Tuesday night before getting a week off for the All-Star break. They’ll lace up the skates on Jan. 27 when they’ll face the Buffalo Sabres.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Ales Hemsky
is expected to return to the lineup tonight for the Oilers. He last played on December 28 against the Nashville Predators... Andrew Cogliano
has gone pointless in four straight games but has played well against Phoenix. He’s got one goal and five assists and is a plus seven in five games vs. the Coyotes...Denis Grebeshkov has scored an assist in three straight games including one on the game-winner vs. Colorado on Friday night. He’s got a goal and two assists in six games against Phoenix...Dustin Penner
managed an assist vs. the Wild on Thursday but it’s been his only point in the last seven games. He’s got six goals in 14 career games vs. the Coyotes.
COYOTES TO WATCH:
Shane Doan leads the Coyotes in goals and points scoring 18-26-44 in 46 games this season. He’s got six points in his last five games and 43 points in 43 games vs. Edmonton...Olli Jokinen is second on the Coyotes in points and goals scoring 16-15-31 in 40 games this season. He’s got three goals in his last five games. Coyotes rookie Mikkel Boedker is tied for eighth in rookie scoring with 20 points. He had a goal and an assist last night vs. Calgary.
(concussion) is probable; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out; Robert Nilsson (concussion) is out; Jason Strudwick
(wrist) is questionable. Phoenix—Kurt Sauer (lower body) is out; Viktor Tikhonov (hand) is out.
Glenn Anderson is the seventh player in Oilers history to have his number retired... A total of eight players have worn sweater #9 since the Oilers joined the NHL in 1979-80: Glenn Anderson, Jim Harrison, Kari Makkonen, Bernie Nicholls, Shayne Corson, Ralph Intranuovo, Mike Watt and Bill Guerin... Oilers assistant captain Steve Staios played his 800th career NHL game vs. Minnesota (Jan. 15). He has scored 35-95-130 in 801 career NHL games since making his NHL debut with Boston in 1995-96...Erik Cole's third goal of his hat trick vs. Washington (Jan. 13) was his 300th career NHL point.
Oilers acquire Sabourin and Stone
- Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the acquisition of forward Ryan Stone
, goaltender Dany Sabourin and a fourth round draft choice in 2011 from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goaltender Mathieu Garon. ...more
The Other Side - news from phoenixcoyotes.com
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Nine Days of Glenn Anderson - Oilers great Glenn Anderson will have his jersey retired this Sunday, January 18. Every day until then, we are rolling out video and features on number nine. Day 8 looks back at Anderson's favourite personal achievement with the Oilers. ...more
- The LINK: Get to know Brodz and Gilby - In this edition of The Link, we get to know pals Kyle Brodziak and Tom Gilbert, continue our countdown of Glenn Anderson's favourite memories, and spend some time with Ford Small Star Joey Quinlan. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
Before Saturday, the Phoenix Coyotes hadn't won back-to-back road games all season.
On Sunday, they'll have a chance to complete a rare three-game sweep through western Canada, but to complete that feat they'll also have to end a five-game losing streak against the Edmonton Oilers.
Since coach Wayne Gretzky took over before the 2005-06 season, Phoenix had been 6-14-1 in Alberta and British Columbia entering their current trip, which began with a 6-3 loss at Minnesota that dropped the Coyotes (23-18-5) to 6-12-3 on the road this season.
But after a 4-1 win at Vancouver on Thursday, they ended Calgary's seven-game home winning streak with a 4-3 victory Saturday night. Rookie Mikkel Boedker, ending a six-game point drought, scored the game-winner and added an assist for Phoenix.
"It's a huge win, especially in this building where it's a tough one to come into," Boedker said. "It's good to be back in Canada and see the crowds in all the cities, it gets you a little extra fired up when there's so many people in the stands."
Despite the Flames' impressive recent play, beating Edmonton could prove the toughest task for the Coyotes. They lost all four meetings with the Oilers in regulation last season, also dropping a 4-2 decision at Rexall Place on Dec. 22. They've been outscored 26-12 during the five-game slide in the series.
Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov has won four of his last five starts overall, but he has a 4.19 goals-against average in five career starts against the Oilers and was pulled from his last appearance in Edmonton after giving up three goals on 11 shots in the first period of an 8-4 loss last March 18.
Gretzky's Coyotes are now 2-5-0 in the NHL's northernmost city, where a bronze statue of the NHL's all-time leading scorer stands outside the arena. Gretzky led the Oilers to four Stanley Cup titles in the 1980s.
Edmonton's current team returns home Sunday after a strong road trip, as the team went 2-1-0 and captured wins at Washington and Colorado. The Oilers (22-19-3) have won three of four overall following Friday's 3-2 win over the Avalanche.
Shawn Horcoff scored the game-winner with 6:35 to play, ending a nine-game drought without a goal, while Mathieu Garon made 37 saves for Edmonton. It proved to be Garon's final game with the club before he was traded to Pittsburgh Saturday in exchange for goalie Dany Sabourin, a minor leaguer and a draft pick.
With goalies Dwayne Roloson and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers also on the roster, the Oilers had been looking to make a trade.
"Addressing our goaltending situation was a high priority for us," general manager Steve Tambellini said. "Moving forward, we believe we've accomplished that as well as acquiring some valuable assets for our organization."
That leaves Roloson as the likely starter for Sunday's game. The veteran had been 7-3-0 with a 2.48 GAA over a 10-start span from Dec. 22-Jan. 13, but after dealing with a heavy workload, he gave up five goals on just 24 shots against Minnesota on Thursday.
"My worry is trying to get us some wins, and giving our guys to win day in and day out and move up the standings here and get into a playoff spot," said Roloson, who has won four straight starts against the Coyotes.
The Oilers, who've missed the postseason the last two seasons, sit on the edge of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Phoenix could end up being one of their primary competitors for a spot, as the Coyotes are currently in position to reach the postseason for the first time since 2001-02.