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Edmonton Oilers @ Phoenix Coyotes Game Six Preview

The Oilers head out for a duel in the desert

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Racers Roadrunners
Oilers (3-2-0, second place) @ Coyotes (2-4-0, last place)
7:30 p.m. MST | Sportsnet West Arena

The opposing view: Five For Howling

Top Story: The Oilers kick off the first difficult portion of the schedule with three road games in four days. The Oilers have been vulnerable to matchup weaknesses on the road and Dave Tippett will look to exploit that vulnerability whenever possible. The Coyotes have goaltending problems. They placed goaltender Mike Smith on injured reserve this week and backup Jason LaBarbera has faltered. They've turned to Chad Johnson, the third-string goaltender and cast-off from the Rangers. Johnson shut out the Predators in his first start as a member of the Coyotes.

The Oilers are saying:

"I’m at the stage of my career where I have to adapt. I can check. I can kill penalties. Accepting those kind of roles when you are asked to is what makes a good team."

--Ryan Smyth on on being usurped.

The Opponent is saying:

""We were really solid on defense in the first period and we were able to go out and get him a goal early," Tippet said. "Sometimes you just change goalies and it can change the psyche of our team."

--Coyotes Coach Dave Tippett, on the mysteries of goaltending.

Key matchup: It's a given that Dave Tippett will get the best of the tactics battle tonight, so the key matchup is based on that win. The Coyotes' top pairing is marvelous. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michalek are all-around killers, capable of playing enormous minutes against the best competition. They can play shutdown, they can move the puck, they kill penalties and can run the power play. Their effectiveness in managing space and passing lanes against the Gagner and Hopkins lines will be the key to the Coyotes chances.

Edmonton Oilers Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Andy Sutton game 01/18/2013
Theo Peckham
hip 01/18/2013
Ben Eager face 01/18/2013
Ryan Jones
eye 01/25/2013

Phoenix Coyotes Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Zbynek Michalek hip 01/13/2013

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mike Smith groin 01/23/2013