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Preview: Game 44 Oilers @ Coyotes

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Coyotes provide test for Oilers as Edmonton hits the road for two games

Mikkel Boedker leads the Coyotes with 31 points (12-19-31)
Mikkel Boedker leads the Coyotes with 31 points (12-19-31)
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports


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@

Phoenix
17-23-3, 37 points, .86 p/g Ranks 21-16-4, 46 points, 1.122 p/g
Pacific Division - 7th Pacific Division - 2nd
28th P/G 13th
23rd ST 22nd
18th S/G 29th
26th Goal 29th
7:00 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Gila River Arena
The opposing view: Five For Howling

Not Quite What We're Looking For

A disallowed goal for the Oilers and two quick goals for the Panthers spelled a loss in the standings for the Oilers. Jaromir Jagr scored his fifteenth goal of the year just three minutes into the game to give the Panthers an early lead. The Oilers thought they had tied it up a couple of minutes later when Taylor Hall sent one flying past Panthers goaltender Al Montoya, but a coach's challenge determined that the Oilers were offfside when they entered the zone.  Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau scored his sixth goal shortly after Hall's goal was overturned, and that would be all the goals that the Panthers needed en route to their twelfth consecutive victory.  The Oilers would get a goal from Mark Letestu midway through the first, but that would be the only goal the Oilers would be able to muster.

Edmonton sits seven points out of third place.  They'll need to start winning some games to keep the second half of the season interesting.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"There's a chance (Yakupov) might be ready for tomorrow."

Source

That's Oilers coach Todd McLellan on Nail Yakupov's possible return.  Yakupov has been out for nearly two dozen games after sustaining an ankle injury in a freak accident with a linesman.  If he's ready to go, it's not a moment too soon.

The opponents are saying

"He came in this year with a lot to prove...He was hoping to have a chance to be that number 2 guy, and then we signed Lindback.  So he came in very driven in camp and played well in camp.  But with the numbers, he went down.  He's come back and got the opportunity and now he's running with it.."  Source
That's Coyotes coach Dave Tippett on his goaltender Louis Domingue.  Domingue has been in net for the lion's share of the starts since Mike Smith went down with an abdominal injury.  Domingue is likely to make his eleventh start in twelve games tonight for the Coyotes.

Have some of this
  • Matt Hendricks will be out for tonight's game in Arizona plus two more after he was suspended for boarding Florida's Aaron Ekblad early in the third period of Sunday's game.  The absence of Hendricks creates another hole in the lineup.  The Oilers would really benefit from Nail Yakupov's return.
  • Louis Domingue (6-2-2, .936 SV% / 2.06 GAA / 2 SO) will likely start for the Coyotes tonight.  Cam Talbot (7-13-2, 908 SV% / 2.75 GAA / 1 SO) is a likely choice for the Oilers, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see Anders Nilsson (10-10-1, .908 SV% / 2.91 GAA) sneak in here.  Since starting just three games in November, Talbot has played eleven games from December 14th to present day.
  • The Oilers trail Vancouver by seven points for third in the Pacific, but they trail the Coyotes by 9 for second place.  The Coyotes are winners of three straight, and have taken points in eight out of their last ten  (7-1-2),
  • Connor McDavid (clavicle), Andrew Ference (undisclosed), Matt Hendricks (suspension)  and Oscar Klefbom (hand), are out for the Oilers.  For the Coyotes, winger Joe Vitale (concussion) and goaltender Mike Smith (abdomen) are out.