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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers vs. Coyotes

Oilers continue their five-game home stand against the Arizona Coyotes

by Paul Gazzola & Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers continue their five-game home stand with a game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. 

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

Video: OILERS TODAY | vs Coyotes Pre-Game

INSIDE THE OILERS

News and notes from Sunday's Oilers practice and media availability.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

EDMONTON, AB - Arizona enters Edmonton having compiled 17 points since Feb. 8. During that span, the club is 8-2-1, most recently defeating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Saturday. 

Edmonton, meanwhile, is looking to snap a three-game winless skid. The Oilers were edged by the New York Rangers 3-2 on Saturday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in his return to game action after being on hiatus due to an injury he sustained on Jan. 13.

SEASON BY SEASON CARRYOVER

Both the Oilers and Coyotes enter tonight's match out of the playoff race. Both teams maintain that pride is still on the line and finishing a down season with some success can permeate into the following year.

"Regardless of where we are in the standings, I think there's still a lot to play for," said Oilers forward Milan Lucic. "I know a lot of people might not think this, but there is a carryover from season to season. Sometimes, if you can get things going the right way to end off the year, it gives you a better mindset into the summertime."

Edmonton is 27-34-4 this season and 10-15-1 since the month of January.

"That's what we're trying to accomplish here as individuals and as a team."

One area the Oilers want to improve is their starts. The club has allowed the first shot against to go in 13 times this season.

"It's happened way more than we would have liked," said Lucic. "It's tough playing from behind. You're always chasing the game, chasing the play and all that type of stuff. We're giving up a Grade A scoring chance in the first minute or two into the game. 

"That's unacceptable."

LUCIC LOOKING TO BUST SLUMP

Lucic's last goal came on Dec. 23 against the Montreal Canadiens. The forward has tried everything and anything to bust his current slump.

"Trying new stuff, going back to trying old stuff, watching clips of other guys, watching old clips of yourself - all that stuff," said Lucic.

The Oilers winger has nine goals and 31 points in 65 games this season.

"I can come up with a million excuses for you guys but at the end of the day, it's about results," Lucic said. "Like I said, there is carryover in finishing strong this season. 

"For myself, it's just trying to get it going again and get that positive feeling in your game and in yourself again."

LINEUP NOTES

Adam Larsson skated with the Oilers this morning but will not play, per Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. Ethan Bear will suit up in his third game of the season.

The Oilers held an optional skate on Monday. Lines will be made more apparent at warmups.

-- Paul Gazzola, EdmontonOilers.com

PREVIEW

OILERS (27-34-4) vs. COYOTES (20-34-10)

TV: 7:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet Oilers

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the final meeting of the season between the Oilers and Coyotes. 

The last time these teams met in Edmonton was on November 28th, 2017, when the Oilers topped the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime.

The last time these teams met overall was on February 17th in Arizona, when the Oilers fell to the Coyotes by a score of 1-0. It was the first time the Coyotes had defeated the Oilers in five games. 

Michael Cammalleri leads all Oilers players in career points against the Coyotes (41), posting 19 goals, 22 assists and 26 penalty minutes in 52 games. His 52 career games against Arizona are the most by a current Oiler.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, having dropped decisions to the New York Rangers, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks.

McDavid is now tied for second in NHL scoring, with 79 points (30G, 49A) in 65 games after two points on Saturday. He has eight points (3G, 5A) over his last four games.

McDavid tied his career high with his 30th goal of the season on Saturday against the Rangers, joining Wayne Gretzky (4), Glenn Anderson (2) and Jari Kurri (2) as the only players in Oilers franchise history with multiple 30-goal seasons before the age of 22. He is the first Oiler with back-to-back 30-goal seasons since Ryan Smyth in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

McDavid tied for first in NHL scoring in February, having posted 21 points (13G, 8A) in 14 games, tied with Eric Staal (MIN) and Evgeni Malkin (PIT). He also gained five points on NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov (TB). McDavid had 54 pts on Feb. 1, while Kucherov had 64.

Coyotes team scope:

The Coyotes have 50 points on the season which is three behind where they were at last season after 64 games. However, at one point the Coyotes were 11 points behind their pace from 2016-17 so they have gained ground.

Recently, they've played quite well with points in nine of their last 11 games (8-2-1). 

Rookie Clayton Keller is the team's leading scorer with 46 points. Keller also leads the team in goals with 17. Brendan Perlini is second in goals with 16.

By the Numbers:

The Oilers have the 31st ranked power play (14.1%) and 31st ranked penalty kill (73.5%). Much has been said about the Oilers 31st ranked penalty kill at home compared to the team's first-ranked PK on the road, but the Coyotes have been similar to Edmonton. 

At home, the Coyotes are 31st in the NHL on the power play at 12.4% but on the road they're tied for second (23.2%). At home, the Coyotes have the 28th-ranked penalty kill in the NHL at 76.6% but on the road the Coyotes PK is tied for third at 83.3%. 

Injury Report:

OILERS - The Oilers are healthy.

COYOTES - Zac Rinaldo (Upper Body) is doubtful.

-- Marc Ciampa, EdmontonOilers.com

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