Preview: Oilers at Coyotes
EDMONTON OILERS (28-23-4) at
PHOENIX COYOTES (25-27-5)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
LINEUP UPDATE: The Oilers will be going with the exact same lineup as they had on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. That means Steve MacIntyre is out once again as well as Fernando Pisani. The defence pairings remain the same: Smid/Gilbert, Staios/Souray and Peckham/Strudwick.
|EDMONTON, CANADA - JANUARY 18: Ethan Moreau #18 of the Edmonton Oilers takes a shot in close against Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place on January 18, 2009 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
What a difference a month makes.
When the Edmonton Oilers faced the Phoenix Coyotes on Jan. 18 at Rexall Place, Phoenix was five points ahead of Edmonton and held the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Heading into tonight’s match, Edmonton (28-23-4) now holds the five-point advantage over Phoenix (25-27-5). Such as it is in the wild West.
The Oilers couldn’t ask for a better opponent to go for their third straight win against (even though Feb. 16 has not been a successful gameday for the Oilers as Edmonton has gone 1-8-1-0 all-time on this day). Edmonton leads the season series 2-0 and Phoenix hasn’t won at home against the Oilers since Oct. 26, 2006.
The Oilers have dominated the Coyotes in recent years going 29-9-3-5 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.
Phoenix is coming off a 7-5 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday, the Coyotes’ eighth loss in 10 games.
Edmonton will play again tomorrow night at San Jose before finishing up their road trip on Thursday in Dallas.
The Oilers return home on Saturday to host the Calgary Flames.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Robert Nilsson was held scoreless on Saturday after registering four assists in four games but he’s done well against Phoenix scoring 2-3-5 in three games...Shawn Horcoff
has three points in two games since returning from a minor injury. He’s won 53.3% of his face-offs (625-1173) this season to rank 21st in the league and he leads the NHL in face-offs (1173) and is 2nd in face-offs won (625)...Andrew Cogliano
has one goal and eight assists in six games vs. Phoenix.
COYOTES TO WATCH:
Shane Doan potted a goal on Saturday and leads the Coyotes with 22 goals and 29 assists. He’s scored 10-33-43 in 44 games vs. Edmonton...Peter Mueller save his best for Edmonton. He’s got three goals and two assists in five games vs. the Oilers. Mueller is third on the Coyotes in points and goals scoring 12-18-30 in 49 games.
Edmonton—Lubomir Visnovsky (torn labrum) is out. Denis Grebeshkov (high ankle sprain) is out. Fernando Pisani (ankle) is doubtful. Phoenix—Kurt Sauer (lower body) is out.
The Oilers are 1-8-1-0 all-time on Feb. 16...Tonight's game is the first of back-to-back games for the Oilers as they visit San Jose tomorrow (Feb. 17)...It is the 13th of 16 back-to-back games for the Oilers this season...Edmonton is 5-7-0 in the first game and 6-5-1 in the second game...Shane Doan needs one goal for 250 in his career and Olli Jokinen needs three points for 500 in his career.
MacTavish looks ahead to Coyotes
- The Edmonton Oilers had an optional practice on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix and head coach Craig MacTavish addressed the media afterwards. Follow the link for video
or click here for audio
The Other Side - news from phoenixcoyotes.com
- Coyotes get third shot at Oilers - The Coyotes continue their four-game homestand with a rare Monday night game at Jobing.com Arena against the Edmonton Oilers. Tickets are available. | Perrault Sent To AHL | ...more
- Coyotes fall short vs. Flames - Daniel Winnik and Viktor Tikhonov scored two goals each, but the Coyotes lost to the Calgary Flames, 7-5, at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night. | Gretzky | Photos | Game Highlights | Post-Game Interviews | ...more
- Coyotes visit Valley Hospitals - Coyotes players and mascot Howler recently visited three children’s hospitals in the Valley to meet young fans and pass out treats for Valentine’s Day. | Photo Gallery | Video | ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- 5 Questions with Tom Gilbert - We recently sat down with Tom Gilbert and asked him five fan-favourite questions on topics from non-hockey jobs to Saturday morning TV shows. Click to check out his answers and more Off the Ice features. ...more
- The LINK: Shaved heads & Pisani's hockey school - On this episode of The Link, we look at the Valentine's Day Hair Massacure where Ethan Moreau and Ales Hemsky shaved their heads. We also take a closer look at Fernando Pisani's hockey school. Follow the link for the show. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
With the way they were playing three weeks ago, the Phoenix Coyotes looked like they would end their seven-year playoff drought. They've been spiraling down the Western Conference standings ever since, though, and breaking out of their funk against the Edmonton Oilers won't be an easy task.
The slumping Coyotes look to avoid falling further out of the playoff picture and snap a six-game losing streak to the Oilers when they meet Monday night.
Phoenix (25-27-5) was fifth in the West with 53 points at the All-Star break but has gone just 1-8-0 since to drop to 13th, six points back of eighth-place Anaheim. The Coyotes have not been to the playoffs since 2001-02 - tied with Chicago and Los Angeles for the second-longest postseason drought in the West.
One of the biggest reasons for Phoenix's recent struggles has been its play at home.
The Coyotes have been outscored 27-13 in losing all five home games since the break after going 10-2-1 in their previous 13 at Jobing.com Arena.
"We're putting ourselves in a tough position, there is no question about that," coach Wayne Gretzky said after Saturday's 7-5 home loss to Calgary. "We just can't afford to keep losing at home."
Phoenix, which is in the midst of its longest home losing streak since a six-game skid Oct. 6-Nov. 3, 2007, has also lost three straight at home to the Oilers (28-23-4) since a 5-2 victory on Oct. 26, 2006.
The Coyotes have had no luck against Edmonton, regardless of where the games have played lately. The Oilers, who are one point out of eighth in the West, have won all six meetings since the start of last season, outscoring Phoenix 32-15.
In their first two games this season - both in Edmonton - the Oilers won 4-2 on Dec. 22 and 6-3 on Jan. 18 behind 13-year veteran Ethan Moreau's first career hat trick.
Edmonton opened a four-game road trip Saturday with a 3-2 shootout victory over Los Angeles, despite getting outshot 41-21.
had a goal and an assist, while goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 39 saves. Roloson has played well since being pulled after allowing five first-period goals in an 8-3 loss at Detroit on Feb. 7, going 2-0-1 in three starts while stopping 112-of-118 shots in those contests.
"Dwayne was outstanding," coach Craig MacTavish said. "He played exceptionally well. It was a great performance."
Roloson has been in net for both games against the Coyotes this season and has posted a 2.60 goals-against average in winning five consecutive starts over them since the start of last season.
, who leads the Oilers with 17 goals and 31 assists, has three goals and eight assists in the six games versus Phoenix since 2007-08.
Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all seven goals Saturday, and has yielded at least four scores in four of his last five starts.
Bryzgalov, who has made 16 consecutive starts for the Coyotes, has a 3.74 GAA since the break after going 5-2-0 with a 2.83 GAA in his previous seven. He is 1-4-0 with a 4.38 GAA in six career starts versus the Oilers.