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Coyotes @ Oilers Game 53 Preview

Oilers have taken one point out of a possible six this year against Coyotes

Ilya Bryzgalov is one of five goalies used by the Oilers in 2013-14.
Ilya Bryzgalov is one of five goalies used by the Oilers in 2013-14.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports



23-18-9, 1.10 p/g Ranks 15-31-6, .692 p/g
Western Conference: 9th Western Conference: 14th
15th P/G 29th
5th ST 26th
13th ES 29th
25th Goal 30th
7:30 PM MDT - Sportsnet West
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Five For Howling

Sometimes, Bad Is Bad

There are 30 games remaining in this season.  With 36 points in 52 games, the Oilers will need to cobble 26 points in the next 30 games in order to match their worst 82-game point total in team history.  (The Oilers had 62 points twice in their history, once in 2009-10, and once again in 2010-11.  That's pretty awful.)  If the Oilers lose 19 of their remaining 30 games in regulation, it will total an unbelievable 50 losses in regulation.

There's really not much that hasn't already been said about this bloated whale carcass of a season, so let's get on with the merrymaking.

The Oilers are saying

"Mark (Spector), you know what the perfect game is?  The perfect game is no hits.  You know why that is?  It's cause you have the puck"

That's coach Dallas Eakins taking Sportsnet employee Mark Spector to task about the Oilers not being physical enough to defeat the Vancouver Canucks this past Tuesday.

You're probably well aware that hits don't equal goals.  The Canucks had two of these goals on Tuesday, while the Oilers had but one.  Mark Spector is either a pretty good agitator and is trying to get Dallas Eakins' ire here, or he's failing to see that while physicality is encouraged, it doesn't directly translate to the score sheet.  Spector then goes on to write a story about how the Oilers are soft, and how at least putting a glove in Zack Kassian's face might have changed something.


That's how games are won and lost.  Physicality and gloves in faces.  Where's your stat for that, decimal point divas?

The Opponent is saying

"We just need more from our top players, and I think they would say that themselves"
That's Coyotes GM Don Maloney on getting production from his top guys.

Quick, who's leading the Coyotes in scoring?  Radim Vrbata?  You're pretty good.  Vrbata has one assist in his last six games.  Mike Ribeiro?  Two points in his last six.  Shane Doan?  Two points in his last six.  Maloney isn't all wet when he says that some of his top guys aren't doing as well as they could be.  Winners of just three in their last ten, they'll need to start stringing some Ws together.  The Minnesota Wild currently hold the eighth spot in the Western Conference, up by six over the Coyotes.  Phoenix has three games in hand.

Of note:

  • Ilya Bryzgalov (3-7-3, 3.24 / .904%) is set to go for the Oilers today.  Look for him to unjustly wear the cone of shame if the Oilers yield 48 shots and he saves only 44.
  • EAKINS: "I firmly know that if I can't get this group going very soon, that it could be me (losing my job)" - I've been 50/50 on Eakins all year.  I love what he says one minute, then I hate his guts for benching Yakupov, or trotting out some line about how his club isn't fit (as if that's the reason the team is a tire fire in the standings).  The Oilers have to pick a coach and go with it, and I think Eakins is the guy to get more than this one season behind the bench.  You fire this guy, you got to bring in another guy. How many sacks of potatoes are going to line up for this job?  Eakins also warms the cockles of my heart each time he shit talks a member of Edmonton MSM about truculence or toughness.
  • No Hemsky.  No Yakupov. (actually, yes Yakupov) Also, no Phil Larsen. But there's Hendricks on the left wing, and Ryan Smyth might see some top six time.  Think they ought to re-sign 94 for another year?  You should.  As long as he doesn't play the middle, I'm game.
  • No Luke Gazdic?  That'll show you for not facewashing Zack Kassian.
  • 30 games to go.  How many more games does this team win?  Eight?  Ten?  One?

The Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan - Mike Ribeiro - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Tim Kennedy - Rob Klinkhammer - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern - Jordan Szwarz

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Michael Stone - Keith Yandle

Derek Morris - David Schlemko

Mike Smith


The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Sam Gagner - Nail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Ryan Smyth

Jesse Joensuu - Mark Arcobello - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Anton Belov -  Corey Potter

Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin

Ilya Bryzgalov