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Game Thread: Oilers at Coyotes - Tonight's The Night. Maybe.

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Still looking for their first win of the season, the Oilers head to Phoenix. I mean Glendale. Or is it just Arizona?

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Well that got ugly in a hurry, didn't it? Just three games into the season and the fans are not happy with much of anything when it comes to the Oilers. And that's hardly surprising following a 5-2 home ice loss to Calgary, the team blowing a two goal lead against the Canucks, and then whatever last night was. If the coaches were sending their best out night after night and still losing there would be more patience but that isn't what's happening and eight years of frustration is coming to a boil.

The Oilers wrap up their mini three game road trip tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. In desperate need of a win (Rexall will not be a happy place on Friday night if the Oilers lose again tonight) there is a little good news for the club from Edmonton: the Coyotes aren't a very good hockey team. Of course, based on the early season results, neither are the Oilers and they're playing for the second time in as many nights, but at least they might have a chance to come out on top tonight. The same certainly couldn't have been said about last night's game.

How To Tune In

Sportsnet West will have the broadcast starting at 8:30PM. That means terrible Gene Principe puns to start the evening off, so maybe tune in a couple of minutes late. You can thank me later.

What To Watch For With The Oilers

For better or worse, keep an eye on the Oilers defence tonight. What we saw last night was basically a how-to video on how not to play defence. You can single out Brad Hunt for a terrible play on the Tyler Toffoli goal, and you should because it's hilarious, but there were terrible mistakes made all around the defence last night. The six men who will lineup on the Oilers blue line tonight are still not the six best available to the coaching staff but with Petry not eating popcorn in the press box at least were closer to what should be sent over the boards on a nightly basis.

What To Watch For With The Coyotes

According to Five For Howling, you should be watching the Coyotes net tonight. Assuming the Oielrs occasionally have the puck in that end of the rink.

The last game the Arizona Coyotes played was a clinic in how to beat good teams. After conceding two early goals (a nagging concern), the Coyotes turned it up. They moved the puck seemingly at will and kept Los Angeles' top lines out of major scoring areas for the most part. For the times where they didn't, Devan Dubnyk made the saves he needed to in order for the Coyotes to get a 3-2 win in overtime.

It's probably too early in the season to call it a "prove it" game for Mike Smith, but he definitely will be looking to turn in a better performance than he did on opening night. And given that Edmonton will be coming off of a disastrous loss in Los Angeles, they will probably try to get to him early.

Projected Line Combinations

Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - David Perron
Jesse Joensuu - Will Acton - Steve Pinizzotto

Darnell Nurse - Justin Schultz
Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne
Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Ben Scrivens

Arizona Coyotes

via Howlin Hockey:

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Rob Klinkhammer - Martin Hanzal - Martin Erat
Lauri Korpikoski - Sam Gagner - David Moss
Brandon McMillan - Joe Vitale - Kyle Chipchura

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek
David Schlemko - Connor Murphy

Mike Smith