Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who has missed the past seven games because of a lower-body injury, accompanied the team on this two-game trip to Edmonton and Calgary. His status for tonight’s game is unclear.
If Jovanovski doesn’t play, defenseman Keith Yandle again will get added responsibilities and ice time. Yandle has wowed the coaching staff with his play while Jovanovski, Zbynek Michalek (lower-body injury) and Kurt Sauer (upper-body injury) have been sidelined.
"I love the way he's accepted the challenge and wants to elevate his game,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
Edmonton (9-11-3) has lost five of its past six games.
Oilers starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, a former Coyote, is nursing a back injury and won’t play. The Oilers will go with rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (2-2-1) between the pipes instead.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan said Phoenix must be cognizant of Edmonton's speed.
"Their defensemen really move the puck well and you have to be willing to skate with them," Doan said. "You can't let them get too much speed coming through the neutral zone because they'll really utilize that."
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has two goals and three assists in his past seven games, and has played 29 shifts or more in each of those games.
Oilers right wing Dustin Penner has four goals and two assists in his past seven games. On Saturday, he notched a goal and an assist in a home loss to Chicago.
Coyotes forward Petr Prucha is looking to snap a monthlong goal-scoring drought. Prucha has come close to scoring lately but has been thwarted by goal posts, crossbars and brilliant saves. "At this point, it's almost harder for him not to score than it is to score," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He's so close to it… He tries hard in there, and he'll keep at it until they start going in for him."
The Oilers held a rare Sunday morning meeting after losing to Chicago, 5-2, at Rexall Place on Saturday. According to the team’s Website, Head Coach Pat Quinn and the players voiced concerns. "It's a good thing to do, for us to vent,” forward Shawn Horcoff told the Website. “(Quinn) vented on us about some things that we needed to hear and we let him know what we're seeing also.”
“It’s going to be pretty nerve-racking I’m sure until I get those first couple of shifts under my belt… I think I am just going to try and enjoy it. It should be really exciting.”