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Tuesday, February 27th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (26-33-3) at Edmonton Oilers (30-27-6), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers will begin their four-game homestand in style tonight, when they honor Mark Messier before taking on the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place.

The Oilers will retire Messier's No. 11 jersey in a pre-game ceremony this evening and fittingly, Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky will be there to witness the special night. Messier will join Gretzky as one of six Edmonton players (Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey) to have their numbers retired.

Messier won six Stanley Cup championships in his career, five with Edmonton and one with the New York Rangers in 1994. The last title with the Oilers came in 1990, when Gretzky had already been traded to Los Angeles.

The St. Albert, Alberta native is the second all-time leading scorer in NHL history with 1,887 points (694 goals, 1,193 assists), trailing only Gretzky.

The Oilers are the second team to have retired Messier's number, after the Rangers raised his sweater to the rafters last year.

Edmonton hopes that Messier's big night will give the team a much-needed boost in the playoff race. The defending Western Conference champion Oilers currently have 66 points and trail Calgary and Minnesota by nine for the final postseason berths in the West.

Edmonton had won two straight before dropping a decision in Minnesota on Sunday. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist as the Wild defeated the Oilers, 4-1, at Xcel Energy Center.

Fernando Pisani scored the lone goal for the Oilers, who finished their seven- game road trip with a 2-3-2 mark. Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves in defeat for Edmonton.

The Oilers are 18-11-2 as the home team this year and will also battle Minnesota, Calgary and Tampa Bay on this stand.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes have dropped seven of their last eight games and were handed a decisive loss Monday in Calgary. Wayne Primeau scored twice as the Flames downed Phoenix, 5-2, at the Saddledome.

Yanic Perreault and Steven Reinprecht each had a goal for the Coyotes, who are 20 points behind Minnesota and Calgary for the conference's last playoff spots.

Phoenix is playing the middle test of a three-game road trip tonight. The Coyotes have lost five straight as the visiting team and are 12-20-1 away from Arizona this year.

Edmonton is 2-1 against the Coyotes this season and has taken four of the last five overall meetings with Phoenix.

02/27 11:10:56 ET


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