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At the Rink: Oilers at Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the Edmonton Oilers look to turn around a dismal season with coaches Craig MacTavish and Todd Nelson moving behind the bench Tuesday, the Arizona Coyotes have a few ex-Oilers who would like to turn things around against their former team.

Center Sam Gagner, who sat as a healthy scratch Saturday as the Coyotes lost 4-3 in overtime against the Minnesota Wild, is back in the lineup. And goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has lost three straight decisions since starting the season 5-0-1, will get a second straight start as the Coyotes try to snap a five-game losing streak overall (0-4-1) and a nine-game losing streak at Gila River Arena (0-6-3).

Goalie Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton.

The Coyotes have 10 wins this season, and three of them have come against the Oilers. Arizona's last win came Dec. 1 at Edmonton (5-2), with Tobias Rieder scoring a pair of shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill to give Arizona a boost. Since then, the Coyotes have been outscored 23-8 and managed just one point. This is the finale of a five-game homestand and the last chance to get a win.

"When you have a change like that they're looking to get a spark out of it," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said of the Oilers. "They'll be full of energy trying to impress their new coach."

The Oilers had a high-tempo skate Tuesday, with Nelson working with the first power-play unit that has scored two goals in 35 chances on the road this season. But there is hope against the Coyotes: Minnesota had only one power-play goal in 44 tries before scoring a pair to defeat Arizona on Saturday. MacTavish and Nelson didn't appear to make any lineup changes to a team that has lost 15 of the past 16 games, two of them to Arizona.

Arizona will likely be without forward Lauri Korpikoski, who snapped a nine-game scoreless streak with a goal against the Wild but suffered a lower-body injury in the game. That opens a spot for Gagner, who has three goals and 10 points in his first 29 games as a Coyote.

"I've had a lot of players like Sam. They are very good offensive players, but sometimes you wonder why they don't go get the puck more," Tippett said. "Their best attribute is making good plays and making players around them better. That means you've gotta go get the puck. It means you've got to check better, and it means second effort to get the puck back.

"We don't expect Sam to come out and be a Selke winner. We're talking about second effort and using his assets to help our team."

Tippett felt the overtime loss to the Wild was a step in the right direction.

"We defended better and that allowed us more chances to score," he said. "We made some mistakes and we didn't get the win, so there is some continued growth we need to find."

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Teddy Purcell

Nail Yakupov - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Tyler Pitlick

Luke Gazdic - Matt Hendricks - Steven Pinizzotto

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Keith Aulie - Jeff Petry

Brandon Davidson - Mark Fayne

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Oscar Klefbom, Brad Hunt

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (foot), Boyd Gordon (back), Nikita Nikitin (back)


Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Tobias Rieder - Martin HanzalSam Gagner

Martin Erat -- Alexandre BolducB.J. Crombeen

Brandon McMillanKyle ChipchuraDavid Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith YandleDavid Schlemko

Michael StoneChris Summers

Devan Dubnyk

Mike Smith

Scratched: Connor Murphy

Injured: Brandon Gormley (lower body), Lauri Korpikoski (lower body)

Status report: Gordon was back in the ice for Edmonton on Tuesday but is not expected to be in the lineup. … Bolduc, recalled from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on Friday, will make his season debut skating between Martin Erat and B.J. Crombeen. Coyotes defenseman Brandon Gormley skated Tuesday and is getting close to returning from injury, but won't play.

Who's hot: The Coyotes are 8-1-0 in the past nine meetings with Edmonton and 3-0-0 this season, outscoring the Oilers 14-7 in those three games. The Coyotes have scored five or more goals four times this season and two of them have been against Edmonton, including a season-high seven in a 7-4 win here on Oct. 15. … Hall has five points (3-2-5) in the three games against Arizona. … Boedker has five of his 10 goals this season against the Oilers and has seven points in the three games.

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