COYOTES VS. EDMONTON: GAME PREVIEW
|Edmonton at Phoenix|
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (25-17-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (23-22-2).
TIME: Saturday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Edmonton Oilers have felt right at home facing the Phoenix Coyotes on the road over the past several years.
Edmonton tries to extend its road point streak against the Coyotes to seven games when the teams meet at Glendale Arena.
The Oilers are 3-0-2 with one tie in their last six contests at Phoenix, and 8-1-3 with one tie in the last 13 games overall against the Coyotes. The last time Edmonton lost on the road in the series was March 24, 2001, a 7-4 defeat.
Possessing the best road record in the Northwest Division at 14-8-3, the Oilers improved to 8-1-3 in their last 12 games away from Rexall Place with a 3-2 shootout win over San Jose on Thursday.
Michael Peca and Ryan Smyth scored in the shootout, while Mike Morrison turned aside two of the three shooters he faced and had 27 saves in regulation. Shawn Horcoff and Steve Staios scored in the first period to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.
"Ryan Smyth, he's money in the bank in those shootouts," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "Every time it's a different move. It's tough to prepare for him in a shootout. But it was a great goal and I have to admit he made a great move, too.
"We lost three in a row coming in. And we had lost four overtime games in a row and we were due for a win."
The victory moved the Oilers six points ahead of Anaheim for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Horcoff, who leads the team with 49 points, has just one goal and three assists in 11 games against the Coyotes in his career.
Phoenix has won three of four following a four-game losing streak to move into a 10th-place tie with San Jose in the playoff race with 48 points, one behind the Mighty Ducks and seven back of the Oilers.
Shane Doan scored two power-play goals in the first period, and Ladislav Nagy and Keith Ballard each had four assists in the Coyotes' 6-3 win over Florida on Thursday.
Phoenix was 5-for-8 with the man advantage, the second time this season it has registered five power-play goals. The Coyotes went 5-for-10 in an 8-4 victory over Carolina on Dec. 3.
"We can't stress enough the specialty teams and how important they are," Doan said. "If you want to win in the league now, you have to have a good power play and then that's going to make it a lot easier."
Doan has three goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. In 32 games against the Oilers, the winger has eight goals and 33 points.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 19): Oilers - 55 points, 4th place, 4 PB, Northwest Division. Coyotes - 48 points, 4th place (tied), 14 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Smyth, 19 goals; Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, 34 assists; Horcoff, 49 points; Jason Smith, 64 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy and Doan, 15 goals; Nagy, 37 assists and 52 points; Sean O'Donnell, 102 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 19): Oilers - Power play: 19.3 percent (56 for 290), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.9 percent (243 for 293), 12th. Coyotes - Power play: 19.1 percent (60 for 314), 11th. Penalty killing: 79.0 percent (234 for 296), 28th.
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (14-11-4, 3.13 GAA); Morrison (6-1-0, 2.28). Coyotes - Curtis Joseph (18-12-0, 2 SO, 2.70); Brian Boucher (3-5-0, 4.01).
SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 18; Coyotes 4-3, OT. At Edmonton, Alberta, Derek Morris scored a power-play goal one minute into overtime and Oleg Saprykin had two goals in Wayne Gretzky's first game coaching against his former team.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 14-8-3 on the road; Coyotes - 12-10-1 at home.