Oilers @ Coyotes Game 42 Preview

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers close 2013 on road against Coyotes



Oilers3

@

Phoenix
13-24-4, .732 p/g Ranks 19-10-9, 1.236 p/g
Western Conference: 14th Western Conf: 8th
29th P/G 11th
24th ST 4th
29th ES 9th
30th Goal 25th
7 PM MDT - Sportsnet Oilers
Jobing.com Arena
The opposing view: Five For Howling

Tickets - TiqIQ

Top Story

  • Yakupov gets benched scratched,  again. Filling in for the maligned winger will be Roman Horak. Horak was one of the crown jewels sent to Edmonton when defender Ladislav Smid was dealt to Calgary earlier in the year. While there certainly have been issues with Yakupov's game, scratching him for a guy who averages less than a quarter point per game in his short career isn't going to help the team score goals. This marks the third time that Yakupov has been scratched this season. It comes exactly one game after Eakins said that Yakupov earned the right to get back on the power play.

The Oilers are saying:

"I see him trying. I will say this: he isn't near turning over as many pucks as he did at the start of the season, he's suddenly in the shot lane in our own zone, he is trying to do the right thing along the walls but young guys in this league still need lots of work there. I want to go over the other side of the game with him, I explained to him this morning that we need him to score. With the deal in place, if he holds up his end of the bargain then the way I will hold it up is to put him -- as we are doing with Roman Horak -- to put him in places to succeed."

That's Oilers coach Dallas Eakins on Nail Yakupv getting the bench for the third time this season.

You say you want Yakupov to score, yet he's getting fourth line ice time with Sweet Lou Gazdic and Anton Lander. I do not understand. You say that he's "earned the right" to get power play time. He gets power play time for one game (about three minutes) and tonight, he's scratched.

Asking Nail Yakupov to create scoring chances with Anton Lander and Sweet Lou Gazdic is like tying two cinder blocks to a marathon runner and telling him to never give up. I'm fully aware that Yakupov needs to clean up his own end, but tossing him out there for six minutes on the fourth line and asking him to "create!" is a tall order.

In other words, no, I'm not jazzed up about scratching Yakupov to play a guy who averages less than .25 points per game at a position he normally doesn't play.

The Opponent is saying:

"The bacteria that they got rid of was something that they're not totally sure exactly which strand it is, and they're just trying to figure that all out"

That's Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who has been out for the last three weeks with rocky mountain fever. A quick Google search for this ailment produced results I'd rather not see again, so good for Shane Doan on getting that straightened out. Doan won't be ready for tonight's game against the Oilers, as he's working on getting his strength and conditioning in order.

Of note:

  • Nail Yakupov is out, which sucks. Roman Horak will get his first action for the Oilers. He'll wear sweater number 12.
  • The Coyotes are 10-3-3 at home. The Oilers are 7-13-2 away from Rexall. The Oilers have only four wins at home? Yeesh.
  • Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule has been suspended after failing to report to Portland (AHL). I can't imagine he'd squander a second chance to be in the NHL, there's got to be more to the story than him just failing to report.
  • Last we looked, the Coyotes were having trouble keeping pucks out of their net. Mike Smith appears to have gotten a grasp on things of late, Since his last meetup with the Oilers in early December, Smith has turned aside 227 of 246 shots, giving him a 923 SV% over that span.

Projected Lines & Pairings:

The Phoenix Coyotes

Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Kyle Chipchura - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Tim Kennedy - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss

Paul Bissonnette - Jeff Halpern - Rob Klinkhammer

Connor Murphy - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Michael Stone - David Schlemko

Mike Smith

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - David Perron

Roman Horak - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Anton Lander - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Jeff Petry

Anton Belov - Martin Marincin

Ilya Bryzgalov

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