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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers at Coyotes

The Oilers look for three-straight wins on Tuesday in a Pacific Division tilt with the Arizona Coyotes

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

GLENDALE, AZ - The Oilers face the Arizona Coyotes in a Pacific Division battle on Tuesday.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet One or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Read the Preview then check back Saturday after media avails for the Morning Skate Report.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game at ARI 02.04.20

 

INSIDE THE OILERS

News and notes from Oilers practice, including Caleb Jones growing his skillset and having an impact for the Oilers in a tight Pacific Division race.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

GLENDALE, AZ - The important games just keep rolling.

Another Pacific Division test awaits the Oilers when they close out a two-game road trip and aim for three wins on the bounce against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday at the Gila River Arena.

An emotional Battle of Alberta on Saturday was followed by a much-needed day of rest and recovery to recharge the batteries and compete for their sixth straight game with at least a point (4-0-1).

"We got a day off, so everybody reset and tried to forget (last) game," forward Gaetan Haas, who scored on a penalty shot in the 8-3 victory over Calgary, said pre-game. "Now we have a new game and new opponent, and we just want to make a good game.

"I think there's good confidence in our game right now."

The Oilers are 10-2-2 in their last 14 games against Arizona and have won five of their last six stops in Glendale to face the Desert Dogs.

Both sides find themselves on opposite ends of the desperation scale heading into Tuesday, with the Oilers having an 8-1-2 record in their last 11 games and the Coyotes having won only once in their last nine contests.

But with both stuck in the same Pacific race and separated by only three points, every game is a clean slate.

"I think there are two desperate teams here, and I think any team at this time of the year is desperate," forward Jujhar Khaira said. "You want all the points you can get for any advantage going into the postseason and even getting into the postseason.

"For us, and I think Arizona, these two points are huge. It's going to be a fun game."

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Khaira

BUILDING UP A FOUNDATION

A humbling defeat and triumphant victory, both against the Calgary Flames, bookend a number of measurable and marginal improvements for the Oilers since the Christmas break.

"We're following the game plan," Khaira said. "Our coaches are very smart, and even watching the last game, we played very well against (Calgary). We're going to have to do the same thing today."

Building out from their own end, the Oilers players and coaching staff are touting a more solid d-zone approach that's been the foundation for success with their 8-1-2 record since a 5-1 defeat in the Battle of Alberta on December 27.

"When we played against Calgary, it was a bad game for us and everybody was pissed off," Haas said.

"For sure the mindset changed after that game around Christmas. We wanted to do the right things well, and we're starting to play smarter and easier trying to go out of the d-zone as fast as we can."

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | Haas

On the road, the Oilers are allowing 2.70 goals against per game on the road this season, fourth-fewest in the NHL and are tied for the third-most wins (15) in the League away from home.

"Our forecheck is working pretty well, and in the d-zone it's pretty good too. So we just have to keep going, watch our game, and get a good result."

Special teams have clicked for the Oilers with the League's best power-play percentage (29.5 percent), what would be their highest-ever in franchise history, and an 88.8 percent penalty kill (71-for-80) away from Rogers Place - also a league-best.

"We have a good power play too that's helping us a lot and the PK is working well too, so right now we have a good mix," Haas said. "It's about keeping going like this."

Just how a focus on their own game has brought the Oilers success, it will have to continue tonight with a similar deployment against Arizona - a team known to be defensively sound and with an average of 2.67 goals against per game allowed in '19-20.

"I think we don't have to watch Arizona. We have to watch us. As I said, we have confidence in our game and have to keep going like this and push Arizona to make mistakes," Haas said.

PREVIEW

OILERS (28-18-6) vs COYOTES (26-21-7)

TV: 7:08 p.m. MT; Televised on Sportsnet One

Head-to-Head:

Tuesday will be the fourth and final meeting between the Oilers and Coyotes this season.

The Oilers have taken a point in each of their meetings this season (2-0-1) and won in convincing fashion, 7-3, on January 18 at Rogers Place. Riley Sheahan recorded his first-career four-point night in the victory.

Three Oilers - Connor McDavid (3G, 1A), Riley Sheahan (1G, 3A), and Leon Draisaitl (0G, 4A) - have four points in three games versus Arizona in '19-20. 

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games and second in the Pacific Division with 62 points after the dust settled on Saturday's heated Battle of Alberta that saw 11 goals, 75 shots, and 100 penalty minutes.

Central to that success has been a re-assembled second line anchored by the NHL's leading scorer Leon Draisaitl, who leads the League with 83 points in 52 games.

Alongside the German, Kailer Yamamoto has a four-game point streak and five goals and five assists since his call-up. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' has seven goals and 10 assists since Yamamoto's recall ad is currently riding a career-high eight-game point streak

Coyotes team scope:

Arizona, after leading the Pacific Division at the Christmas break, has faltered with one win in their last nine outings to now occupy the second Wild Card spot with a three-point cushion on the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since acquiring Taylor Hall in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on December 16, the Coyotes are 7-9-3. Hall has 17 points (7 G, 10 A) in the 19 games he's suited up in as a member of the Coyotes.

The Coyotes have a point in seven-straight home games, but are 1-3-2 and have been outscored 16-11 in their last six home games against the Oilers.

By the Numbers:

The Oilers are 15-10-2 on the road this season and 4-1-1 in their last six road games away from Rogers Place. ... The Coyotes are allowing 2.67 Goals Against/Game this season - fourth-fewest in the NHL. ... 

Leon Draisaitl's point streak of 11 games (7G, 12A) is his second point streak of at least 11 games this season. ... Phil Kessel's 828 consecutive games played since the 2010-11 season is the seventh longest Iron Man Streak in NHL history and third-longest among active streaks. ... 

Hall faces his former team for the ninth time in his career and has four points (2G, 2A) with a -6 rating in his previous 8 meetings. ...

Injury Report:

OILERS - Joakim Nygard (hand) is on IR; Kris Russell (concussion) is on IR; James Neal (hand) is day-to-day.

COYOTES - Darcy Kuemper (lower body) is day-to-day; Barrett Hayton (shoulder) is on IR; Oliver Ekman-Larsson (lower body) is day-to-day.

-- Jamie Umbach, EdmontonOilers.com

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