23 FEB 2013 – 1:30 MST
Television: Sportsnet West
Oilers are desperate for a win today. They’ve gone 1-3 on their current home stand and are just 2-5-3 in their last ten. They will begin a 9 game road trip after this afternoon’s game against the Coyotes. The Coyotes have points in nine of their last 11 games (7-2-2) and currently sit in 7th in the West with 18 points.
- 5 ON 5 – This has to get better. The Oilers are last in the NHL in scoring 5 on 5. You’d think they’d be somewhere near the top. The Oilers have just 17 5 on 5 goals in 16 games, or just about one even strength goal per game. Not going to work.
- LINE CHANGES – Taylor Hall is out two games from a suspension stemming from a kneeing major versus Minnesota on Thursday. Up comes Magnus Paajarvi to the first line. Turn it out, Magnus. Lennart Petrell has been placed on the IR, so the Oilers don’t have to send anyone down to OKC. I haven’t seen an official lineup yet, but I expect Ryan Jones to play on the fourth RW today.
- Remember when Nail Yakupov scored a game winning goal and began to levitate from the ice? Remember when Ryan Whitney said something to Derek Morris and Morris responded by firing fists into Whitney’s head? I don’t think either of those guys are in the lineup today. There goes the air out of the tires.
- Radim Vrbata currently leads the Coyotes in scoring with twelve points (4-8-12) in 15 games played.
- Oilers are expected to go with Devan Dubnyk (5-5-3, .917 / 2.78 GAA) between the pipes, while Phoenix is expected to counter with Mike Smith (6-4-1, .907 / 2.55 GAA).
- I’ve put the playoffs at about 54 points, and I believe Troy has the playoffs at 56. The Oilers are 39 points away from 54 with 32 games to go. This means that the Oilers are going to have to start winning some games, and will have to finish with a record of something like 17-10-5 in order to get there. In other words, today’s kind of important. Let’s see if this team can get through a matinee game with a win.
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