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GDT Game 51: Final game before All-Star Break

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It’s the last game before the All-Star Break and the Coyotes look to finish strong against a division rival.

Edmonton Oilers v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes started their game against the Vancouver Canucks the right way. Christian Dvorak got his 12 of the season from Taylor Hall and Oliver Ekman-Larsson just under eight minutes in the first period. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t last.

After the Coyotes did so well to start, but they took two penalties almost back-to-back. Michael Chaput and Ilya Lyubushkin both got called for minor penalties, and during the Lyubushkin penalty, Vancouver would tie the game on the power play.

The Coyotes’ inconsistent power play would prove to be a killer. The Canucks took two penalties after they tied the game, and Arizona was unable to convert on either. The Coyotes’ special teams have struggled all season, but if they can find consistency the Coyotes will be a force to be reckoned with.

Vancouver would get the game-winner over midway through the second, and it would be all that was needed. The Coyotes would outshoot the Canucks in the third, and Adin Hill would stand strong, but the team was unable to get the game-tying goal.

Unfortunately, the Coyotes lost to one of the worst teams they could. They are tied with the Calgary Flames still, though the Flames have played one fewer game. The Canucks are now one point behind the Coyotes, having played two fewer games.

The Edmonton Oilers were one of the biggest surprises in the first half of the season. Thanks to new coach Dave Tippett playing Connor McDavid and Leon Daisaitl over 20 minutes some games they were at the top of the Pacific.

But while the Oilers have come back down to Earth, they are still very much in the playoff race. Despite being the fifth team in the Pacific Division they are only two points behind the Coyotes and have played two fewer games.

The Oilers have been inconsistent this month. The Oilers have been good to start the season. They are 3-1-1 in January, with their one loss coming against the Calgary Flames. That game got a lot of attention for the incident involving Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian, and because of that Kassian will not be playing tonight.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Christian Dvorak - Dvorak had the Coyotes’ lone goal against the Canucks and has a three-game point streak going.

Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl - Draisaitl had two power play goals against the Nashville Predators in the Oilers’ last game. He currently has a seven-game point streak where he has 12 points.

Injuries

Arizona: Jordan Oesterle (questionable, lower body), Barrett Hayton (shoulder), Brad Richardson (lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)

Edmonton: Zack Kassian (suspension), Matt Benning (head)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s matinee game will be at 1:00 pm Arizona Time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona, SN1, SNE, SNO, and SNP and will be on Fox Sports 910 AM for its radio broadcast.