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Phoenix
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42-27-13
Edmonton
Oilers
32-40-10

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Friday, 02.24.2012 / 12:20 PM

The Skinny
 
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By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to extend their winning streak to five games and their point streak to 11 games today when they play the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. The puck drops at 2 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (31-21-9) will enter the rare matinee in seventh place in the Western Conference standings, but tied with Pacific Division leading San Jose with 71 points. That’s mainly because the Coyotes have posted a 9-0-1 record in February.

"We're all smiles and happy right now because we keep finding ways to win," captain Shane Doan said. "It might not be pretty and it might not be the way coaches have it drawn up at the beginning, but we've found ways to come back. It gives us a belief system in your game that you know you can do it."

Today’s matinee is the third of four games between these teams this season. The Coyotes won the first two matches by a score of 4-2 in each game – both played at Jobing.com Arena. Eight players have scored a goal for the Coyotes in the first two games.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith, who has won a career-high nine games in a row, is expected to start in goal for Phoenix. Smith is 2-1-0-0 vs. Edmonton is his career with a 3.01 goals-against average.

• Click here to listen to Smith answer questions on "NHL Home Ice."

Phoenix keeps winning despite multiple injuries. Regulars Kyle Chipchura, Rostislav Klesla, Gilbert Brule, David Schlemko and Derek Morris (family illness), all are on the sidelines during this critical stretch.

The Coyotes last played on Thursday when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames, 4-3, in a shootout. Winger Ray Whitney, who as a child worked as an Edmonton Oilers stick kid, was the hero of Thursday’s game with a goal in regulation and the lone shootout goal. Whitney, who turns 40 in May, leads the Coyotes with 56 points. The Edmonton-area native has 11 points in six games against the Oilers dating to last season.

Edmonton (24-30-6) will enter the game with a two-game winning streak, including a 2-0 blanking of Philadelphia on home ice on Thursday.

Devan Dubnyk, who has been playing in place of injured starter Nikolai Khabibulin, stopped all 35 shots he faced vs. the Flyers, and 56 of 57 shots during the team’s modest win streak.

Photo by Getty Images.
The Oilers are expecting rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who hasn’t played since Feb. 6 because of a shoulder injury, to be back in the lineup for this game. Despite missing the past seven games, Nugent-Hopkins stills ranks fifth on the team and second in the NHL in points among freshmen with 35.

Oilers Head Coach Tom Renney also is expected to be back in action after missing five games with concussion symptons. Renney was injured earlier this month when he was hit in the head with a puck during a practice.

Center Sam Gagner was the talk of the League not too long ago when he notched an eight-point game against the Blackhawks on Feb. 12. However, Gagner has been held point-less in three of the team’s past four games.

Center Eric Belanger, who signed with the Oilers after one season with the Coyotes, ranks seventh in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 57.4.


Who's Hot
 
Doan
Coyotes captain Shane Doan has notched three goals in the past two games and ranks second on the team with 19.
Eberle
Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle has notched two goals and three assists in the past two games and ranks ninth in the NHL with 60 points.
Did You Know?
 
  • The Coyotes are 8-2-0 vs. the Oilers and have outscored them 37-23 since Dave Tippett took over as head coach before the 2009-10 season.

  • Coyotes winger Ray Whitney ranks 12th in the NHL in plus/minus rating at +22.

  • Today's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona and on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 2 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.
Injuries
 

  Nikolai Khabibulin
  R. Nugent-Hopkins
  Theo Peckham
  Gilbert Brule
  Kyle Chipchura
  Rostislav Klesla
  David Schlemko

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 18 '12PHX 3 at EDM 2 - SOR. Whitney
Feb 25 '12PHX 3 at EDM 1R. Whitney
Dec 15 '11EDM 2 at PHX 4S. Doan
Nov 05 '11EDM 2 at PHX 4B. Gordon
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Whitney62183957+242451
R. Vrbata62302353+2020710
S. Doan62201838-73755
K. Yandle6282735+63602
L. Korpikoski62131730+101203
M. Hanzal4882129+124132
A. Vermette6281927-161223
O. Ekman-Larsson6281523-12211
D. Langkow5381422-71411
B. Gordon5571320+121001
M. Boedker6281018-21001
R. Torres599716-34800
K. Chipchura4721315+54000
T. Pyatt597714-41400
R. Klesla512911+92500
D. Schlemko4111011+71000
D. Morris48189-102600
G. Brule17347+3210
A. Aucoin52257+123410
M. Rozsival34077+51600
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
D. Rundblad26156-10600
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
C. Summers16033-2600
M. Pouliot9022-3200
P. Bissonnette21101-22601
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
M. Stone4000+1000
M. Watkins1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith4928-14-710814612.27.926
J. LaBarbera163-7-2364082.59.912
C. McElhinney21-0-02361.67.944
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Eberle57273360+4883
T. Hall51222446-126126
S. Gagner54142640+43050
R. Smyth61172239-44544
R. Nugent-Hopkins41142236-3831
S. Horcoff61111930-191640
A. Hemsky4852227-132711
R. Jones58131124-53211
C. Potter4431518-141610
T. Gilbert4731417-41221
J. Petry5421517-101810
E. Belanger583912-132810
B. Eager487411-49002
R. Whitney3011011-10810
A. Sutton393710+26001
L. Smid61369-14000
M. Paajarvi41268-7400
L. Petrell43347-83800
A. Lander56246-81200
T. Peckham46123-17400
C. Barker19202-21611
J. Green7112-6710
D. Hordichuk26011-54000
C. Teubert20011-41800
R. O'Marra7011+0400
A. Plante3011+0200
P. Cornet2011+0000
T. Chorney5000-1000
L. Omark5000-2200
T. Hartikainen5000-4000
M. Kytnar1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Khabibulin3412-16-5829552.60.914
D. Dubnyk3212-15-1859262.88.908
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