NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 4th
(All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (26-42-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (36-28-13), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - 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 Jobing.com 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
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
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
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.
04/04 11:20:40 ET