After taking on a team riding an 11 game winning streak - 12 games after the games - the Oilers are again taking on one of the NHL's hottest teams. The Coyotes have won three in a row and have points in nine of their last 10 games. With all those point the Coyotes find themselves in second place in the Pacific Division. By comparison the Oilers are on a bit of a slide right now with losses in six of their last eight games and just one win in regulation in the last month. With all those losses the Oilers find themselves in last place in the Pacific Division.
The last two games easily could have been wins for the Oilers but the bounces went the other way and now they play nine of twelve on the road, starting with a quick two game trip to Arizona and San Jose. They wrap up the week with a game against the Flames, which will also be the third and final game of Matt Hendricks' suspension for his hit on Aaron Ekblad on Sunday night. He'll be eligble to return to the line-up when the Oilers arrive in Florida to take on the Panthers next week, that could be interesting.
Without Henricks in the line-up tonight the Oielrs will go with seven defencemen, some of whom actually belong in the NHL. They'll be tasked with trying to give Anders Nilsson some support as he makes his first start of the new year. In Nilsson's last start he was pulled after fourty minutes having given up four goals to the Flames. He did see some action in the Oilers next game, in relief of Cam Talbot, but could easily look rusty in the early going tonight, for a team that's been having trouble scoring a weak goal could be a real problem.