NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 5th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (25-14-4) at Edmonton Oilers (16-22-4), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Oilers head coach Pat Quinn says he is putting his club
through a brief mini-camp to try and break them out of their recent slump.
Given who Edmonton is playing tonight, his timing just might be perfect.
The Oilers, losers in nine of their last 10, seek a sixth straight win at home
over the Coyotes tonight in their matchup with Phoenix at Rexall Place.
Edmonton is last in the Western Conference with just 36 points and has scored
just one goal in each of its last five losses. That includes Saturday's 4-1
setback to San Jose in which Robert Nilsson scored the lone goal and Jeff
Deslauriers gave up four tallies on 27 shots faced.
The Oilers now return home after back-to-back losses in Calgary and San Jose
to begin a four-game residency. However, they are just 9-10-2 at Rexall Place,
where they have lost seven of their last eight overall.
Still, Quinn will try to get his team on track during its extended stay at
"We seem to break instead of just bend," Quinn said after practice on Monday.
"Good teams bend, they all do once in a while, but we break. It's not going to
square one, but certainly we have to dust off our fundamentals of our game."
They'll do so tonight versus a Coyotes club that they haven't lost to at home
since February 27, 2007. Edmonton's current home win streak over Phoenix
includes a 4-0 victory on November 23 in which Deslauriers made 36 saves for
the first and only shutout of his career.
Overall, Edmonton has won eight of its last nine over Phoenix.
Coyotes netminder Ilya Bryzgalov made 21 saves in that loss, falling to 2-5-0
in his career versus Edmonton with a 3.97 goals-against average. He rebounded
to give up just two goals in each of his final three November starts before
going 8-2-3 with a 1.82 GAA in December, earning the month's second star on
However, Bryzgalov's January didn't get off to a great start, as he gave up
three goals on 35 shots faced in a 4-1 setback to Detroit on Saturday. Matthew
Lombardi scored the only goal for the Coyotes, who lost their second straight
at home following a club-record 10-game win streak as the host.
"We got a pretty good start -- I thought we had chances early," said Coyotes
head coach Dave Tippett. "[The Red Wings] scored some timely goals, and they
did what they had to do to win."
The game wasn't the only thing that Phoenix lost, as leading goal-scorer
Scottie Upshall suffered an upper-body injury and is unlikely to play on the
Coyotes' upcoming two-game road trip. Upshall leads the team with 14 goals and
is third with 24 points.
Phoenix, losers in three of its last four overall, has dropped four of its
last six on the road, where it is 9-8-3 this season. It is still fourth
overall in the West with 54 points, however.
01/05 10:48:53 ET