NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (8-6-2) at Edmonton Oilers (6-7-3), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes aim to extend their February surge with
a sixth straight victory in Edmonton, where they will battle the Oilers on
The Coyotes dropped five of seven last month to begin the season, but have
gone 6-2-1 in February with a victory in four of their last five.
Phoenix has been idle since a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday, with
Mike Smith turning aside 30 shots for his third shutout of the season and 22nd
of his career.
Keith Yandle and Mikkel Boedker score goals within the first minute of the
first and third period, respectively, while Antoine Vermette and Raffi Torres
had a goal and an assist each.
"Tonight was a great win for our team, a great confidence builder," Smith
The Coyotes next begin a three-game swing through Western Canada and haven't
lost in Edmonton since Nov. 23, 2009. They took both trips there last season
as part of a four-game sweep.
However, the Oilers did snap a five-game series slide with a 2-1 overtime
victory on Jan. 30 in Phoenix. Nail Yakupov scored 1:08 into the extra frame
to give Edmonton the victory, scoring on Chad Johnson with Smith out due to
The victory was only the Oilers' third in their past 14 meetings with the
Set to visit Chicago on Monday for the first of nine in a row on the road,
Edmonton will try to salvage the final of a five-game homestand Saturday. It
has lost four of five on the stay, including Thursday's 3-1 setback to the
Ryan Smyth registered the lone Edmonton goal and Devan Dubnyk gave up three
goals on 28 shots in the setback, the Oilers' eighth in their last 10 games.
They have been held to two goals or fewer in nine of their last 11.
"It's frustrating, that's the only word to describe it," Edmonton forward
Jordan Eberle said of the loss. "We have to find a way to play a close game
and find a way to get a greasy goal."
The Oilers finished up the game without forward Taylor Hall, who was given a
five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct following a low hit on the
Wild's Cal Clutterbuck late in the third.
Clutterbuck was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off
the ice, where a stretcher was waiting for him just beyond the end boards.
"I really didn't feel like it was knee-on-knee at all," Hall said of the hit.
"I felt I got him with maybe my hip or torso area. It was just a weird play. I
don't really think it was that dirty."
The NHL disagreed with Hall's take on the play and handed him a two-game
suspension for the hit on Friday.
Edmonton defenseman Ryan Jones could play for the first time this season on
Saturday after sitting out the first 16 games because of an eye injury
suffered when he took a puck to the face during the lockout.
02/23 10:41:52 ET