NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, February 8th
(All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (18-33-6) at Phoenix Coyotes (35-19-5), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After stumbling in their last trip to the ice, the Phoenix
Coyotes will be seeking a bounce-back performance when they return to
Jobing.com Arena tonight to take on an Edmonton Oilers squad trying to avoid
setting a franchise record for consecutive road losses.
Phoenix had a season-best six-game win streak broken with Saturday's 4-0 loss
at Dallas, with Stars goaltender Marty Turco making 34 saves to help shut down
the Coyotes' slumping offense.
The Coyotes had scored only one regulation goal in back-to-back shootout
victories over Nashville and Chicago coming into Saturday's test, receiving
excellent outings from netminders Ilya Bryzgalov and Jason LaBarbera in both
games. Bryzgalov, who shut out the Predators with 25 saves on Tuesday, wasn't
as sharp this time around, though, as the veteran Russian managed to stop only
"Our whole group look tired [Saturday] without a doubt," said Phoenix head
coach Dave Tippett, whose club completed a four-game road trip. "It's been a
long week on the road and we've played some very hard games. We knew what we
were up against [Saturday] and we didn't come out on top."
Coming back home should help the Coyotes recharge. The team has compiled an
outstanding 21-8-2 record at Jobing.com Arena so far this season and has won
15 of its last 20 matchups (15-3-2) as the host, including three in a row.
Facing the lowly Oilers also figures to be to Phoenix's benefit, considering
Edmonton has generated a league-worst 42 points and enters tonight's clash
having lost nine straight road games, all in regulation. That skid matches a
team record established twice previously, most recently from February 25-April
The Oilers' latest two road setbacks have occurred on this current five-game
swing. After dropping a 4-2 decision in Minnesota on Thursday, Edmonton was
blanked by Colorado's Craig Anderson for the third time this season in
Saturday's 3-0 defeat to the Avalanche.
"He has played well against the Oilers," remarked Edmonton forward Mike Comrie
about Anderson. "I don't know if it's a case of him playing well or if it's a
combination of us not getting the quality chances we need."
The Oilers have only mustered three goals over their last three games and may
not have the services of one of their top scorers tonight. Forward Sam Gagner,
who ranks second among Edmonton players in goals (14) and points (35), was
forced to exit Saturday's contest with a sore knee. The 20-year-old had
notched eight points (5 goals, 3 assists) over an eight-game stretch that
preceded this weekend's loss.
Edmonton should be stronger in the back end for this evening's tilt, however,
with defensemen Ladislav Smid and Steve Staios set to return from concussions
that had sidelined both players recently. Smid has missed the Oilers' last
eight games, while Staios has been out since January 16 with his injury.
The pair are expected to lend further support to goaltender Jeff Deslauriers,
who made 39 saves in a losing cause on Saturday.
These teams split two meetings earlier this season, both of which were held in
Edmonton, but the Oilers are 8-1-1 against Phoenix since the start of the
2007-08 campaign. Edmonton has also left victorious in four of its past five
visits to Glendale.
02/08 10:50:39 ET