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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers at Coyotes

by Marc Ciampa / Edmonton Oilers

 
INSIDE THE OILERS

 

Anton Slepyshev called up due to an illness to Benoit Pouliot, Teddy Purcell gives his (biased) thoughts on three-on-three overtime, Shawn Horcoff comments on getting his 500th career NHL point against his old team and more.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

 

PRE-GAME REPORT

 

GLENDALE, AZ - The Edmonton Oilers look to win back-to-back games on the road for the second time this season after defeating the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday.

Anders Nilsson stopped 34 of 37 shots in the victory, and that was enough for Oilers head coach Todd McLellan to decide to go with him again tonight.

“I think every event creates its own set of numbers and tonight Anders will do that,” said McLellan when asked about the fact that goaltenders on the second night often have a lower save percentage when playing back-to-back. “He played well last night, he’s fresh, he’s good. We made sure of that and we’d like to give him another chance to hold the crease.”

Nilsson will be playing, but that doesn’t mean the Oilers are going with the exact same lineup.

“Matty Hendricks is out of the lineup and Benny Pouliot is ill so he won’t be playing either,” McLellan remarked. “(Anton Slepyshev) draws in. He’s played well down in the minors and he’ll get an opportunity to play some minutes.”

READY FOR THE COYOTES

Arizona was predicted by many to be near the bottom of the NHL and Western Conference but they have played very well for the majority of the season with a record of 8-6-1.

“They don’t beat themselves, that’s the first thing I’ll tell our team tonight. If you expect to show up here and get a present gift wrapped that’s not the way it’s going to be. They’re going to compete hard, they play a detailed game and they’ve been energized by a couple of young players who have been very dynamic for them,” McLellan began.

“Their goaltenders have proven to be exceptional for them in their wins. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. I liked our performance last time we played back-to-back. We had good goaltending in that situation, we had special teams which played well and found a way to win so I think that our group can do it again tonight.”

Mike Smith will be starting in goal tonight for the Coyotes. He has a 3.11 goals-against average and .904 save percentage to go along with a 6-4-1 record and one shutout this season.

EBERLE GOOD TO GO

Jordan Eberle took an awkward fall shortly before the Oilers overtime winner last night but Coach McLellan said that he wasn’t aware of any potential injury issues to the Oilers forward.

“From what I’ve been told he’s good to go. He wasn’t whining or bitching about anything after the game. He’s a good Saskatchewan kid,” McLellan chuckled.

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com

 

NHL.COM PREVIEW

 

OILERS (6-10-0) at COYOTES (8-6-1)

TV: SNOL, FS-A

Season series:
The Arizona Coyotes swept a five-game set against the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15. Four of the five games were decided in regulation. Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker had five goals and two assists against Edmonton.

Oilers team scope:
Edmonton continues its four-game road trip and plays its second game in as many nights following a 4-3 overtime win at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Cam Talbot will likely get the start in goal after Anders Nilsson faced 37 shots Wednesday. The Oilers came back from three one-goal deficits in Anaheim. "Our group's … they're calm. They're not in panic mode at all," coach Todd McLellan said. "You can feel it sag a little bit, (but) they pull back up and get themselves going again. We've been it before, we've played through it. We almost have a recipe for coming out of it. It's not healthy to always be there, but we've experienced it and we believe we can come back."

Coyotes team scope:
Arizona received a well-deserved day off Wednesday after winning road games against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on back-to-back nights. The Coyotes have won three of four games this month. "We have to keep winning, keep getting points, especially these in our division," goalie Anders Lindback told The Arizona Republic. "It's really important games and even if it's early in the season, every point matters so it's a big win." Arizona assigned forward Dustin Jeffrey to Springfield of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

-- NHL.com
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