By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to start a new winning streak and cool down a red-hot team tonight when they host the Edmonton Oilers at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (6-4-2) will enter the game after losing, 3-0, to Nashville on Thursday. The Oilers have won six games in a row, including a 3-0 win at Los Angeles on Thursday.
"They've had a really hot start with a lot of young talent over there, and I think they're an excited team that's on a roll so we've got to be ready for them," Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has stopped 141 of 149 shots in his last four starts (3-0-1).
, a former Edmonton Oilers stick kid, is averaging a point per game for the Coyotes this season. In 2010-11, he led Phoenix with seven points versus Edmonton in four games.
Coyotes center Cal O’Reilly will make his debut with the Coyotes. Phoenix acquired O’Reilly from Nashville a week ago, but he has missed the three Coyotes games since the trade because of a minor lower-body injury.
► Click here
to listen to an interview with O'Reilly that was recorded the day he was traded to the Coyotes.
Meanwhile, Coyotes center Martin Hanzal
is still considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered in Wednesday's game at Colorado and will not play.
The Oilers (8-2-2) are off to their best start since 1986-87, when they won the third of their five Stanley Cup championships in seven years.
|Photo by Getty Images.
"It's awesome,” forward Jordan Eberle told the Oilers' Web site. “It's so much better coming to the rink when you're winning hockey games; the atmosphere is great. We haven't got too high and we haven't got too low. We've got a little swagger; and I think that's good, you bring it into your game,”
Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is 6-0-2 and leads the NHL with a 0.98 goals-against average and .963 save percentage. Khabibulin is 9-4-1 with a 1.91 GAA against his former team but hasn't played in Phoenix since a 3-2 shootout victory Nov. 18, 2008, while with Chicago.
Eighteen-year-old rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a goal in his first NHL game, recorded a hat trick in his third and assumed the team's scoring lead with five goals and 11 points and won NHL Rookie of the Month honors for October.
"He plays a very smart game, intelligent game, right spot at the right time," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "Obviously his skill-set is very good. He's around the puck a lot, makes very good plays, so he's fit in well with that young group of players there, and it'll be interesting to see him first-hand."