Coyotes hope to get on track against Oilers

By The Sports Network April 4, 2014 at 11:06 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

( - The sliding Phoenix Coyotes hope to continue their dominance of the lowly Edmonton Oilers on Friday, as the playoff-hopeful club aims for a much-needed win at Arena.

The Coyotes have seen their playoff chances take a hit during a current three- game losing streak, but the club hopes it can record a sixth straight win against the Oilers to get back on track.

Phoenix enters Friday tied with Dallas for the last playoff spot in the West. The Stars, who hold the current tiebreaker thanks to having a game in hand over the Coyotes, are idle Friday after dropping a 4-1 road decision Thursday evening against Carolina.

"We have five games left. We are still out of the playoffs right now but we all know how important these points are so we have to make sure we win the rest and get in," said Phoenix center Martin Hanzal after his club's latest loss, a 4-0 setback in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Phoenix is averaging 2.61 goals per game in 2013-14, but the Coyotes offense has been more prolific in the season series against Edmonton, outscoring the Oilers by a 19-12 margin en route to a 4-0 record.

The Coyotes boast a 10-0-2 record in the last 12 encounters and have claimed 15 of the past 18 meetings with Edmonton. Phoenix also has gained a point in five straight home matchups, going 4-0-1 during that stretch.

Phoenix hopes it can dial up the scoring against the Oilers once again, especially after being shut out in Wednesday's loss at Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick only needed to stop 17 shots to anchor the Kings in the triumph at Staples Center.

Thomas Greiss, in net again for injured Coyotes starter Mike Smith, gave up four goals on 32 shots. The backup has started all five games since Smith suffered a knee injury in a loss to the Rangers on March 24. Greiss is 2-2-1 during that stretch.

Greiss expects to get the call again on Friday. The 28-year-old is 2-0-1 with a 1.10 goals against average and .952 save percentage in three career games against Edmonton.

Three of Phoenix's remaining five games will be on home ice, where the club is 21-13-4 this season. After hosting the Oilers tonight, the Coyotes will play two straight on the road in Columbus and Nashville before welcoming San Jose and Dallas during a two-game homestand.

The Oilers, who will miss the postseason for an eight straight year, have lost three straight and are 1-7-0 over their last eight tilts. Edmonton last played on Wednesday in Anaheim when it blew a 2-0 lead in the third period to fall to the Ducks in regulation.

Philip Larsen scored a power-play goal to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the second period and Jordan Eberle scored at 2:51 of the third to hand the Oilers a 2-0 cushion. It was all downhill from there, however, as Corey Perry scored twice to tie the game before setting up Francois Beauchemin for the game- winning one-timer with 1:21 to play.

Perry's first goal came just 37 seconds after Eberle put the Oilers up by two goals.

Viktor Fasth, playing for the first time against the Ducks since they traded him to Edmonton last month, made 23 saves.

"There were a lot of emotions," Fasth said. "I had been playing with the guys on the other side for over a year. It was a special feeling. It is tough."

Edmonton is playing its final road game of the season on Friday before closing its campaign on a four-game homestand. The Oilers are just 12-22-6 as the visiting team in 2013-14.


Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories