The Oilers need 40 points in their next 32 games to make the playoffs, a tall order for a team with 15 points in 16 games. If they win today and go 4-4-1 on the road trip (another tall order) they will still need 29 points in their final 22 games to make the playoffs. Even the most confident of Oilers fans can't be optimistic.
If they finish 9th or 10th, I think Steve Tambellini saves his job. If they collapse, as is their custom, and finish with 37-42 points, and 13th, 14th or 15th in the conference, Tambellini can't survive. Win today and try to break even on a long road trip. Lose today, and it very well could spell the end of Steve Tambellini. No pressure.
Oilers Report: The team's best player is in the press box after a questionable hit in the Minnesota Wild game. The team's best centre is still on IR with a sunken knuckle. The team's defensive depth is still a mess. But they get Ryan Jones back, so there's that.
Coyotes Report: The Coyotes look like a playoff team again, but will be without Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris, though the latter is actually good news for Coyotes fans.
Expected Line Combinations
Ryan Smyth - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Teemu Hartikainen - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky
Ben Eager - Eric Belanger - Ryan Jones
Magnus Paajarvi - Chris VandeVelde - Teemu Hartikainen
Justin Schultz - Nick Schultz
Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Mark Fistric - Corey Potter
Scratches: Taylor Hall, Theo Peckham, Ryan Whitney
By The Numbers
Courtesy Jake Pringle.
First Six Games (4-2-0):
- 12 PP goals on 32 chances (37.5% efficiency)
- PP goals made up 75% of total offense
- Scored at least one PP goal in each game
- Team shooting% of 9.52%
- 16 goals for (2.66 per game)
Last Ten Games (2-5-3):
- 6 PP goals on 40 chances (15% efficiency)
- PP goals made up 30% of total offense
- Scored at least one PP goal in 5 of 10 games (1-3-1 without a PP goal)
- Team shooting% of 6.89%
- 20 goals for (2 per game)