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PHOENIX COYOTES (22-18-1) at
EDMONTON OILERS (19-21-4)
Start Time: 7:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Coyotes Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics The Edmonton Oilers look to extend their winning streak to three games tonight against a team that has had some success of their own recently, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Edmonton is playing the third game of a five-game homestand. They defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night then stomped on the New York Islanders to the tune of 4-0 this past Monday.
LAST GAME: Oilers 4, Islanders 0
With the pair of wins, the Oilers are inching closer to that last playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are five points behind eighth-place St. Louis. However, with five teams between them and the last playoff spot Edmonton will need to continue to put up wins the fashion they have been of late.
One of those five teams is the Coyotes. They have won each of their last five games heading into tonight’s action. Most recently, they put up a convincing 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Phoenix now has 44 points and is one back of the Blues.
This is the second of four meetings this season between these two clubs. Edmonton won 4-2 in Phoenix back on October 18. Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Video... Pre-game comments from Stoll, Garon & Gagner. 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Phoenix: Mathieu Garon
Pre-Game vs. Phoenix: Sam Gagner
Pre-Game vs. Phoenix: Jarret Stoll
Craig MacTavish talks about Horcoff's selection and tonight's game Listen to all pre-game audio (in order: Gagner, Garon, Stoll and MacTavish): Pre-Game vs. Phoenix
Shawn Horcoff speaks to the media after being named to the team
Wednesday's Video... Jan 9: Souray, Stortini, MacTavish & Moreau talk about balancing physical play with injuries. 700K Wednesday's Audio... Jan 9 Off Day: Ethan Moreau
Jan 9 Off Day: Sheldon Souray
Jan 9 Off Day: Craig MacTavish
Jan 9 Off Day: Listen to all (in order: Moreau, Souray, MacTavish) News Update...
Shawn Horcoff to represent Oilers at NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta - Edmonton Oilers assistant captain Shawn Horcoff has been named to the Western Conference All-Star Team for the National Hockey League All-Star Game on Sunday, January 27th in Atlanta. ...more More News The Other Side Strader's Blog - The television voice of the Phoenix Coyotes delivers an exclusive mid-season blog from his hotel in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. ...more Coyotes Midseason Report - With 41 games in the books, we decided to take a look at: "What We Know", "What We Like", "What We Expect", "What To Watch For", and "What We Need." ...more Walsh and Pierre do Hollywood - During a recent trip to Los Angeles FSN Arizona host Todd Walsh paired up with Pierre The Fanatic Hockey Snowman for an entertaining ride through Tinseltown! ...more Item of the Game Tonight's item of the game is a Van Era Cap. (Regular $29.99 on sale for $19.99) From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Vote for the top play (Dec 27 to Jan 7) - Dustin Penner had two highlight-worthy goals against St. Louis on January 2 but there were plenty of options to choose from for the period of December 27 through January 7. Follow the link to make your choice and get your vote in! ...more Register for the Celebrate Hockey Mini-Pack Priority Draw - From now until January 11, you can register for the chance to purchase the Celebrate Hockey Mini-Pack including three great games as well as the top NHL prospects event of the year. Follow the link to sign up today! ...more From the Wire
A loss to the Edmonton Oilers in October was just one indicator of the problems Phoenix might have in net this season if it didn't make changes. The Coyotes have since been able to settle down nicely.
Led by Ilya Bryzgalov's outstanding play, the Coyotes look to win their seventh straight road game when their season series with the Oilers continues on Thursday night.
Phoenix goaltenders had an .888 save percentage through Nov. 16, marking the fifth-worst mark in the league during that span. Those games included a 4-2 loss to Edmonton on Oct. 18, with Alex Auld giving up three goals on 17 shots.
Auld ended up being traded to Boston, three weeks after the Coyotes claimed Bryzgalov off waivers from Anaheim on Nov. 17. Since then, Bryzgalov is 13-8-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
Bryzgalov made 30 saves as Phoenix (22-18-1) extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over Calgary on Tuesday night. It also was the Coyotes' sixth straight road win and Bryzgalov has been in net for five of those victories, posting a 1.58 GAA.
"We have a lot of respect for Bryzgalov and he came from a great organization and won a Stanley Cup," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He played with a guy in (Jean-Sebastien) Giguere, who was one of the best goaltenders in hockey. It's a nice start for him and a good opportunity to be the head dog and he's really taking a liking to it and I know the players enjoy him being in net."
After being stuck as the backup to Giguere in Anaheim, Bryzgalov has started 22 of Phoenix's 24 games since joining the Coyotes. He has helped them move within two victories of matching the longest road winning streak in franchise history, set by the Winnipeg Jets in April 1985.
Phoenix is playing the second game of a four-game road trip, which concludes Friday night in Vancouver. The Coyotes are 14-8-0 on the road, already surpassing its total for road wins from all of last season (13-26-2).
"We have a great young team," said Bryzgalov, who is 1-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA in two starts against Edmonton (19-21-4). "We've started winning games and we have a great future if we keep working hard and believe in ourselves."
The Oilers, meanwhile, got a strong game in net Monday night from Mathieu Garon, who made 35 saves for his third shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders. That was the second game of a five-game homestand for Edmonton.
Garon opened the homestand by making 29 saves and turning away three New York Rangers in a shootout as the Oilers won 3-2 on Saturday night.
"To win the first two games of a five-game homestand, that was big for us and gives us the opportunity to do something special for the last three games," said Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff, who has a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. "It was a big confidence builder for us."
The Oilers, however, learned Monday that winger Raffi Torres will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn right knee ligament. Torres, who hasn't played since hurting the knee against Detroit on Dec. 13, had five goals and six assists in 32 games this season.