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Can the Arizona Coyotes continue to stay out of the Pacific Division basement?

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With a commanding win against the Vancouver Canucks, the Coyotes hope to keep it going against the team they have been swapping positions with at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With a win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, the Arizona Coyotes are no longer the worst team in the Pacific Division.  It seems only fitting then that they face off against the worst team in the Pacific Division tonight as they finish their road trip with a trip to Edmonton.

Matchup at a Glance


Arizona Coyotes

Edmonton Oilers

Points

15 (6th in the Pacific)

14 (7th in the Pacific)

Goals Per Game

2.59 (19th)

2.53 (21st)

Goals Against Per Game

3.24 (27th)

3.35 (28th)

Power Play Percentage

19.7 (11th)

13 (27th)

Penalty Kill Percentage

77.2 (25th)

81.8 (14th)

5 on 5 Fenwick For Percentage *

48.36 (24th)

49.78 (19th)

PDO *

98.45 (22nd)

97.11 (29th)

*Courtesy of War on Ice

View from Arizona

Arizona has been having problems with their consistency, and nothing speaks louder to that than a 5-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks after a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Coyotes have proven that they can be great in moments, but they don't seem to have the skill or the effort to win night in and night out.  If the Coyotes are able to string together two wins on the road, it will be a very positive sign, especially since every loss makes it harder and harder to get back into a playoff position.

The Vancouver game did show some positives for the Coyotes.  They were able to score at even strength, they were able to get solid goaltending and defense while getting outshot, and they kept up the pressure with an early lead.

View from Edmonton

Edmonton started off the season bad, then they were good for a stretch, and now they are back to being pretty bad.  Its really tough to predict what the Edmonton Oilers are going to be this season, they are not likely to be a playoff team at this point, but they probably shouldn't be this bad.  It's also difficult from an outsider's perspective to see what the problem is.  During the past offseason, the Oilers decided to upgrade their goaltending, which may have been their biggest weakness in the past, but so far ,Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth both have goals against average over three goals per game and save percentages below .900.

Edmonton seems to be largely the same team as they were the last time these two met, especially if Taylor Hall is back from an MCL injury.  Despite his last game being Nov. 1, in which he only played 6:30, Hall leads the Oilers in goals with six and he is third in points with 10.

Keys to the Game

  1. Get an early lead. While it isn't a perfect correlation, the Coyotes tend to perform better when they get an early lead.  If they are able to get an early lead they can control the flow of the game and hopefully maintain that lead.

  2. Don't play down to Edmonton. In the past it has been said that the Arizona Coyotes will play down to their opponents.  If their opponents are bad, they tend to play bad. On the flip side they will play up to opponents, however Edmonton is bad so the Coyotes can't play bad.

  3. Special teams. One of the great mysteries is how a team with a lot of offensive talent like the Edmonton Oilers can have a terrible power play.  Arizona meanwhile has had a solid power play this season which has the potential to win games for them this season.

Who's Hot

Martin Hanzal is coming off a hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks, and while some have argued that maybe his second goal shouldn't have counted, he still finished with a multiple point game against a good Vancouver Canucks team.

Jordan Eberle has been playing good hockey in the past few games with a goal and two assists in the past three games for the Edmonton Oilers while averaging about 20 minutes on ice per game.

Injury Report

David Moss is still out for the Coyotes. Keith Yandle did not practice this morning -- his status for tonight's game is unknown.

The Oilers' only injured player is the previously mentioned Taylor Hall, who may return tonight against the Coyotes.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game starts at 7 p.m. and will be available on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.