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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:15 AM
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Edmonton Oilers vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- 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 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 said.

Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has stopped 141 of 149 shots in his last four starts (3-0-1).

Ray Whitney, 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."

Who's Hot
Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata has notched eight points in the last six games, including four goals in the past three games.
Corey Potter ranks tied for 13th in the NHL among defensemen with eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 games, and leads Oilers defensemen with 20 shots on goal.
Did You Know?
  • The Coyotes have won three of the four games played between these teams in each of the past two seasons.

  • Tonight's game is starting at 7 p.m. and not 6 p.m. as most Saturday games do. The reason for the later start is that the game is being televised by CBC as part of "Hockey Night in Canada."

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 7 p.m.

  Cam Barker
  Ales Hemsky
  Darcy Hordichuk
  Ryan Whitney
  Martin Hanzal
  Michal Rozsival
2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 18 '12 PHX 3 at EDM 2 - SO R. Whitney
Feb 25 '12 PHX 3 at EDM 1 R. Whitney
Dec 15 '11 EDM 2 at PHX 4 S. Doan
Nov 05 '11 EDM 2 at PHX 4 B. Gordon
R. Nugent-Hopkins136612+4621
R. Smyth136612+22712
J. Eberle133811+4012
T. Hall12369+4821
C. Potter11268+2210
S. Horcoff13257+0010
R. Jones13235+1400
T. Gilbert13134-2210
L. Petrell12112+0000
S. Gagner7022+1000
C. Barker10101+31010
A. Sutton10101+03101
T. Peckham9101+21300
M. Paajarvi13011+0000
E. Belanger13011-11000
A. Lander13011-1400
B. Eager10011+02300
J. Petry6011+4200
A. Hemsky2011+1000
C. Teubert2011+1000
A. Plante1011+1000
L. Smid13000+01200
L. Omark5000-2200
R. Whitney4000+0000
D. Hordichuk3000+0000
N. Khabibulin86-0-282180.98.963
D. Dubnyk52-3-0111582.19.930
R. Whitney136814+4420
R. Vrbata135712+6411
S. Doan134610-4830
M. Hanzal113710+31001
D. Langkow13358-2401
K. Yandle13178-51001
B. Gordon13246+8401
T. Pyatt13246-1600
D. Schlemko12156+9000
L. Korpikoski13325+1401
O. Ekman-Larsson13325-1411
R. Klesla13044+7900
R. Torres13213+1700
M. Boedker13123-2200
A. Aucoin13112+2810
P. O'Sullivan8112-3000
D. Morris13022-81000
C. O'Reilly6011-4200
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
P. Bissonnette6000+01100
A. Miele5000-2400
K. Chipchura3000-1000
M. Rozsival1000+0000
M. Smith106-2-2243262.36.926
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