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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 by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
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...
Pre-Game vs. Phoenix: Erik Cole, Liam Reddox, Shawn Horcoff and Craig MacTavish Game Preview with Bob Stauffer & Louie DeBrusk The Other Side: Coyotes Pre-Game The Other Side: Coyotes Assistant Coach Doug Sulliman Pre-Game Audio... Liam Reddox Erik Cole Shawn Horcoff Craig MacTavish
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
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board.
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).