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Oilers hope to end losing ways against Coyotes
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers have jumped out to a solid start to the season, but they haven't had much success recently against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Oilers will try reversing that trend when they visit the Coyotes for Wednesday's clash at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix swept all four games from the Oilers in 2011-12 and has won five straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings in this series. Edmonton hasn't fared much better in the desert, dropping two in a row and six of its previous seven games in Arizona.
The Oilers are 3-2-0 and have alternated wins and losses since the start of the season. Edmonton hopes to post consecutive victories for the first time in 2013 after coasting to a win over Colorado in its last trip to the ice,
Ales Hemsky scored one of four power-play goals as the Oilers rolled to a 4-1 home win over the Avalanche on Monday. The 4-for-6 performance on the man advantage gives Edmonton 10 power-play goals in 28 opportunities this season -- good for second in the league percentage-wise.
Jordan Eberle, Shawn Horcoff and 2012 No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov also lit the lamp for the Oilers, who had won twice after regulation and entered the contest having not led at any point during a game this season.
"We didn't play the last period like we wanted, but we got the win and it certainly felt good to play with a lead," Horcoff said.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 37 Colorado shots, including a whopping 23 in the third period.
Phoenix also received some terrific goaltending in its last outing, a 4-0 win over visiting Nashville on Monday. In just his seventh NHL contest, Chad Johnson stopped 21 shots to notch his first career shutout in his Coyotes debut, as the Coyotes blanked the Predators.
Johnson was recalled from the Portland Pirates of the AHL last week after starting goaltender Mike Smith sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of last Wednesday's win against the Blue Jackets.
"It just kind of shows that I can play at this level," said Johnson. "I have to continue to do that. It's one game."
The 26-year-old Johnson's only other victory came on Jan. 31, 2010 against the Colorado Avalanche as a member of the New York Rangers. He could get another start on Wednesday over Smith's regular backup Jason LaBarbera.
Keith Yandle registered a goal and two assists, while Lauri Korpikoski, Nick Johnson and Antoine Vermette each scored once for the Coyotes, who snapped a two-game skid to push their season record to 2-4-0.
Smith is currently on injured reserve although he'd be eligible to return for Wednesday's game if he was healthy. As it stands, Smith is more likely to be back in net this weekend when Phoenix takes on Dallas in a home-and-home series.
The Coyotes are closing a three-game homestand against the Oilers and are 2-2-0 as the host this season.
01/30 10:41:12 ET
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