COYOTES VS. EDMONTON: GAME PREVIEW
Edmonton at Phoenix
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (27-18-6) at Phoenix Coyotes (26-24-2).
TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Edmonton Oilers hope the success they have recently enjoyed on the road will follow them when they return home.
The Oilers will try to wrap a three-game road trip with a perfect record as they meet the Phoenix Coyotes at Glendale Arena.
Edmonton opened the road trip with a Southern California sweep, posting a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Wednesday and a 5-3 win the next night over the Los Angeles Kings.
Raffi Torres scored the go-ahead goal in the win over the Kings, ending a 10-game goal-scoring drought.
"I felt like I got a 25-pound weight off my back," Torres said. "It's been a while, and it's been a stressful long month and a half."
Torres wasn't the only one to rediscover his scoring touch: Radek Dvorak scored for the first time in 10 games, Todd Harvey in 15 and Ethan Moreau in 18.
Rookie Mike Morrison made 25 saves to improve to 6-0-0 on the road. He has not given up more than three goals in any road win this season.
"It's fun playing on the road," Morrison said. "Don't get me wrong. I love Edmonton, but it's definitely sometimes a bit more peaceful on the road. I feel a lot less pressure. You can just go out there and play the game.
"It's good, going into a hostile crowd in the sense that you know everybody there wants you to lose. That underdog-facing-the-world attitude is something I've always liked."
After this game, the Oilers will play just one of their next 10 games on the road when they face the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 7 in Denver. Once the Olympic break ends, the Oilers will have two four-game road trips and a three-game swing the remainder of the regular season.
Edmonton will face a couple of former Oilers that are trying to help Phoenix get back into the playoff race. Mike Comrie scored twice and Curtis Joseph made 36 saves as the Coyotes won their third straight at home, 6-2 Saturday over the San Jose Sharks.
"Against a team like the Sharks you can't make many mistakes," Comrie said. "We played a really solid game and didn't make many mistakes."
Comrie had 61 goals in two-plus seasons with Edmonton before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in December 2003. Joseph, arguably a future Hall of Famer, recorded 76 of his 417 career wins with Edmonton from 1995-98.
Phoenix also got a goal and two assists from rookie defenseman Keith Ballard. He has a goal and eight assists during a four-game home points streak.
The Coyotes, who are playing the second game of a 10-game homestand, trail Edmonton by six points for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
STANDINGS: Oilers - 60 points, 4th place, 3 PB, Northwest Division. Coyotes - 54 points, 4th place, 16 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 21 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 38 assists and 54 points; Jaroslav Spacek and Jason Smith, 72 PIM. Coyotes - Comrie, 17 goals; Ladislav Nagy, 41 assists and 56 points; Sean O'Donnell, 112 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 18.4 percent (59 for 321), 12th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (264 for 318), 13th. Coyotes - Power play: 18.3 percent (64 for 349), 13th. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (263 for 327), 23rd.
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Morrison (7-2-0, 0 SO, 2.43 GAA); Jussi Markkanen (15-11-5, 0, 3.11). Coyotes - Joseph (21-13-0, 2, 2.73); Brian Boucher (3-6-0, 0, 3.89).
SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 21; Coyotes, 4-3 (SO). At Glendale, Ariz., Geoff Sanderson and Nagy scored shooutout goals to lift Phoenix. Markkanen finished with 26 saves for the Oilers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 16-8-4 on the road; Coyotes - 14-10-1 at home.