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National Hockey League

Coyotes hit the road to battle improving Oilers

(SportsNetwork.com) - After a solid start at home, the Phoenix Coyotes have hit a bit of a rough patch in the desert.

The Coyotes will try to get things sorted out on the road Tuesday night as they begin a four-game road trip with a stop in Edmonton to take on the Oilers.

Phoenix has gone 0-2-1 in its past three as the hosting club since a 9-0-1 start and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

The Coyotes trailed 3-0 after the first period before getting back into the game thanks to second-period scores from Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Hanzal, but Chicago put the game away in the final frame.

Mike Smith allowed four goals on 35 shots faced as Phoenix lost for the fourth time in its past five.

"That's a good lesson for our team -- how hard you have to play, how smart you have to play to beat an elite team," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Phoenix is scheduled to visit Calgary on Wednesday night and it is unknown if Smith or backup Thomas Greiss will get the call tonight in the first part of back-to-back games.

Smith is 6-4-1 with a 2.39 goals against average in his career versus the Oilers, while Greiss is 1-0-1 with a 1.44 GAA against them.

Edmonton returns home to begin a five-game residency after picking up a 3-2 shootout win over the hosting Dallas Stars on Sunday. It was the Oilers' fifth victory in seven games.

Jordan Eberle and David Perron notched shootout goals and Devan Dubnyk ended with 15 saves after coming in for the injured Ilya Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov had stopped 28-of-29 shots faced before suffering an upper-body injury after colliding with Dallas' Ryan Garbutt with 3:41 to go in the second period.

"For me (Dubnyk) was excellent as was Bryzgalov early," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "Coming in off the bench, it's never easy. Those guys tonight, especially Dubnyk, they were real catalysts for our team."

Ales Hemsky and Andrew Ference scored in regulation for the Oilers, who are just 3-8-0 as the home team this season.

It is unknown how long Bryzgalov will be sidelined, though goaltender Jason LaBarbera was recalled from the minor leagues on Monday.

Dubnyk is likely to get the start tonight and is 2-5-2 with a 2.96 GAA lifetime when facing the Coyotes.

The Coyotes have won seven of nine and 12 of their last 15 versus the Oilers, including a 5-4 victory at home on Oct. 26. Defenseman Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both scored in the latter stages of the third period, Radim Vrbata had three assists and Smith made 26 saves.

LaBarbera gave up all five goals on 27 shots faced in the start.

Phoenix is 6-0-1 in its last seven at Edmonton.

12/03 10:59:17 ET

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