The Oilers head into Phoenix tonight to take on the Coyotes. Coming off a 4-1 win over the Avalanche on Monday night the Oilers are looking to start their first winning streak of the season. Part of me thinks a winning streak needs to be longer than two games to really be called a streak but times in Edmonton have been harsh over the last half a decade as the Oilers have opted to lose a lot of hockey games and so I'm lowering the bar for a streak. It's really not that different from the way we've lowered our expectations for management: "Well he he always seems to be wearing pants during his press conferences so, yeah, he probably deserves an extension."
Oilers Report: The Oilers will be going with the same lineup and line combinations as they did on Monday night. Before Monday night's game there was a lot of focus on the Oilers lack of even strength production which was of course a little crazy given that the team had played just four games. Following team's four power play goals on Monday the crazy has expanded to include the power play as well. For the sheer entertainment value I hope the Oilers score five more power play goals tonight on the way to a 5-3 win.
Coyotes Report: The Coyotes have started the season with only two wins in their first six games. The good news - for Coyotes fans at least - is that the team is 2-2-0 with a +4 goal differential on home ice and are coming off a shut out win over the Predators on Monday night. As usual though, nobody was there to see it as the Coyotes are once again dead last in attendance with an average of 12,269 (71.6% of capacity) so far this season.
Ales Hemsky loves to play the Coyotes. In 29 career games Hemsky has scored 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points; the only team he's been better against is Columbus. Shawn Horcoff passed Esa Tikkanen for 8th place on the Oilers all-time list on Monday and based on his past performances Hemsky, who is now just two points back, could easily knock Tikk back another spot tonight.
Chad Johnson is expected to get the start for the Coyotes tonight. Johnson was in net Monday night stopping 21 shots and recording his first career shut out. If you're not familiar with Johnson you're not alone, that was his first NHL action in 669 days and his first start since January 31, 2010 a span of 1,093 days.
Fun with small samples: Hall, Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins all have a Corsi above 20. Smyth is the only other Oilers forward who isn't currently negative, he sits at 0.00. Justin Schultz is the only other player in positive territory. A 4.3% shooting percentage at 5-on-5 will do that to you.
The difference between the temperature with the wind chill in Edmonton today and Phoenix is 48°C. I'm guessing that lousy attendance or not, the Oilers media won't be talking about relocating the Coyotes to Quebec City until they're back home.
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