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Coyotes @ Oilers Game 25 Preview

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It's December! This team is due for a win against the Western Conference by now, right?

Antoine Vermette and Tobias Rieder
Antoine Vermette and Tobias Rieder
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


Phoenix

@

Edmonton
9-12-3, 21 points, .876 p/g Ranks 6-14-4, 16 points, .666 p/g
Western Conference - 13th Western Conference -14th
25th P/G 29th
26th ST 17th
26th ES 29th
24th Goal 28th
7:30 MDT - SNW
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Five For Howling

Nine! Straight!  Losses!

That Blues game sure was a lot of fun to watch.  Here, we have an Oiler team that got outshot by greater than a 2/1 margin and still they remained in the hunt for two points.  You know things were really wacky when Nikita Nikitin ended up on the score sheet.  Ben Scrivens played very well, but the wheels came off late in OT when Vladimir Tarasenko left Justin Schultz waiving in the wind on this overtime goal.  The Oilers are winless in their last nine games, and they have yet to win a game against a member of the Western Conference this season.

The Coyotes are in town.  About all that...

The Oilers are saying

"I think we're getting what we deserve right now...I don't think we're playing good enough to win in the NHL"

That's Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens after Friday's 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.

I think it's fair to assume that Ben Scrivens is in the same ballpark as David Perron when it comes to attitude about this team.  He gave some less than enthusiastic sound bites after a game that saw the Oilers amass just sixteen shots while yielding 41.  The real fun starts at :25.

The Opponent is saying

"We had to play fast and we had to play with poise and make good plays with the puck, and we didn't do a lot of either"
That's Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett after his team was shutout by the Flames 3-0 on Saturday.

The Coyotes have been blanked four times this season, and they're currently on a three game losing streak. You'd think a team with only nine wins in 24 games would be firmly ensconced in last place in the conference.  The Oilers need a victory in the worst way possible, and the Coyotes might be the best chance at one with Winnipeg and San Jose coming up in the next week.

Have some of this
  • Jesse Joensuu has been waived by the Oilers, and is now in OKC.  When you've got Steve Pinizzotto and Luke Gazdic on the big club, I guess you can afford to waive Joensuu, or something.  Will kind of miss his time on the fourth line with Gordon and Hendricks.
  • Tyler Pitlick will get his first NHL action of the season tonight.  He's with Draisaitl and Perron.  Of course.
  • CHECK OUT THAT FOURTH LINE OF LUKE GAZDIC WITH BOYD GORDON AND STEVE PINIZZOTTO. Wow, someone send Boyd Gordon a letter of apology.  What the hell did he do to deserve this?  It's game 25 and I'm not even sarcastic when I say that I miss Matt Hendricks and Jesse Joensuu on that fourth line.  What's Lennart Petrell doing these days?
  • Viktor Fasth (2-5-2, .900 SV%) gets the start for the Oilers in net.  Thought you'd might see Scrivens again after a very good performance in St. Louis on Saturday, but the goalie wheel spins once again. Mike Smith (4-11-2, .893 SV%) will start for Arizona.
  • Mikkel Boedker has been an Oiler-killer so far this year.  In two games against the Oilers, Boedker has scored game winners in both games, and is 4-1-5 in that span.
  • Tobias Rieder is pulling a regular shift for Arizona.  He's expected to be on the second line tonight with Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan.  Remember when the Oilers traded hiim for Kale Kessy?  Yeah, me too.
  • The Oilers are still winless against the Western Conference (0-11-3).  Tonight, that all changes. (drinks)
  • GOILERS
The Arizona Coyotes

Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Shane Doan
Brendan Shinnimin - Sam Gagner - Martin Erat
Brandon McMillan - Joe Vitale - B.J. Crombeen

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

Mike Smith

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Leon Draisaitl - Tyler Pitlick
Nail Yakupov - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell
Steven Pinizzotto - Boyd Gordon - Luke Gazdic

Andrew Ference - Mark Fayne
Oscar Klefbom - Jeff Petry
Nikita Nikitin - Justin Schultz

Viktor Fasth