After suffering back-to-back losses, the Arizona Coyotes will welcome the visiting Edmonton Oilers - a team that the Yotes have registered a point against in their last 25 encounters. Heck, the Oilers are welcome at Gila River anytime!
View from Edmonton
For more on the Edmonton Oilers, check out The Copper & Blue.
The Oilers are coming off back-to-back wins against strong opponents in the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning. They are currently sitting in 3rd in the Pacific Division and share the division’s best goal differential of +8 with the 1st place San Jose Sharks.
Connor McDavid has been quiet in his last five games, registering only two assists. However, Edmonton has still managed to win three out of those five without McDavid going on a tear so the Oilers still know how to get things done even without production from one of the NHL’s most lethal weapons.
Goaltender Cam Talbot has been answering the call in net thus far for the Oilers, seemingly solving what has been one of the team’s weakest positions in recent years. He is cruising with a healthy 2.52 goals against average and a save % of .917 for the season. Not bad, but given where the Oilers have been in recent years, “not bad” is a welcome change.
View from Arizona
After scratching the healthy goal scorer Brendan Perlini and power play threat Anthony DeAngelo, the Coyotes were caught unable to score with the man advantage in a game against the Calgary Flames which was ultimate decided by the play of the special teams.
Mike Smith wasn’t fantastic in net as Arizona managed to suppress the shot count against for at least a game - perhaps Smith plays better when he’s kept active at all times? One of the reasons for the Coyotes’ recent dominance over the Oilers has been Smith’s play. He is is 15-1-1 with a .928 save % and 2.24 goals against average in 19 career games against Edmonton.
Having conceded eight goals in the last two games while only scoring three, the Coyotes are once again in meltdown mode. Thankfully the timing for this match against Edmonton couldn’t be better as Arizona now has a chance to regain confidence against a team they’ve already beaten twice this season and have points against in their last 25 matches.
Will Shane Doan score #400? - Shane Doan has scored 17 goals and recorded a massive 46 assists in 76 games against the Oilers, ranking Edmonton at 5th for teams the Captain is most productive against.
Will DeAngelo and/or Perlini play tonight and be effective? - Many Coyotes fans (myself included) were perplexed as to why Anthony DeAngelo and Brendan Perlini were scratched against the Calgary Flames. The Coyotes still managed to give up 4 goals without them in the lineup, and continued to fail to score consistently. These are exciting players to watch and the fans love them, let them play!
Can the Coyotes keep McDavid off the score sheet? - Pretty much a key to any game against the Oilers, keeping McDavid off the score sheet is going to go a long way to locking up a win or at least a point and keeping the streak against the Oilers alive.
Players to Watch
Edmonton - Milan Lucic - Lucic is a professional Coyote killer and he especially loves hurting young Coyotes. Look for things to get physical when Lucic is on the ice.
Arizona - Anthony Duclair - Everyone loves Duclair. Every Coyote fan wants Duclair to score. Duclair wants to score. When he does there is going to be a party. A good party.
Edmonton - The Oilers are without defenders Mark Fayne, Darnell Nurse, and Andrew Ference, while winger Iiro Pakarinen is also out.
Arizona - Other than Brad Richardson and Max Domi on injured reserve, the Coyotes are playing with a healthy roster.
Tonight’s game begins at 7:30 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game live at Gila River Arena, watch it on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or listen in on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.