Game Preview: Oilers at Coyotes


The Coyotes are looking to stop their three-game home losing skid tonight. The Edmonton Oilers, the worst team in the Western Conference by a long shot, is just what the doctor order for Phoenix to end their recent home struggles tonight.

During their three-game losing streak at home, Phoenix has been held to only seven goals, three of which came in a loss to the Kings on Saturday night. Before their recent struggles, the Coyotes had a five-game win streak at home. From Dec. 29 to Jan 15, the Coyotes their opponents 22-10. That is quite a drop off, but things could turn with a struggling Edmonton team in tonight.

Former Coyote goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has  been the starter in net for the Oilers for the past couple of months after returning with injury. Devan Dubnyk was in net the last time these two teams met. Khahibulin has gone 9-3-1 with a 1.82 GAA in 13 career starts against his former team, but he has really struggled in net so far this season against everyone else. He has lost his last 10 starts and his GAA stands at 3.46 on the season. That is quite a drop off for a guy who has a career GAA of 2.71. It appears as though Father Time has caught up with the “Bulin Wall.”

Goaltending hasn’t been the only problem for the Oilers this season. They have also had a hard time getting the puck into back of the net. During their current five-game winless streak, Edmonton has scored only nine times while allowing their opponents to score 19 times. Rookie Taylor Hall, one of Edmonton’s low bright spots on the season, has been held to only two points during their losing streak.

Phoenix will be close to full strength tonight. Derek Morris and Ed Jovanovski both participated in morning skate this morning and both are likely to start tonight. Morris missed Saturday’s game against Los Angeles with a lower-body injury and Jovo hasn’t played since Jan. 13 with the same injury. Michal Rozsival is also suffering from a lower-body injury. He didn’t participate in the morning skate today and probably won’t play tonight.