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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 31-of-35 shots.

"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 5, 2007.

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

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