The Phoenix Coyotes nearly had their first winning streak of the
season snapped at Edmonton, but instead they return home in search
of a seventh consecutive victory.
This time, the Oilers hope to finish the job and notch rare
back-to-back road wins as they visit Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday
The Coyotes (10-5-5) hadn’t won consecutive games this season
until their current run, which featured a three-game sweep of their
road trip through western Canada.
Phoenix trailed 3-0 at Edmonton on Friday night, but battled
back to tie the game on Wojtek Wolski’s goal with 35 seconds left
in regulation with the goaltender pulled. The Coyotes won 4-3 in a
Coach Dave Tippett’s team capped the trip with a 3-2 win over
Vancouver on Sunday night, sparked by two goals from Taylor Pyatt –
including the winner in the third period.
Much as they did last season en route to their first playoff
berth since 2002, the Coyotes have relied on strong goaltending and
timely offense despite a lack of star power. No Phoenix players
rank among the top 70 in the NHL in points.
“The one thing I like is we’ve got everybody contributing,”
Tippett said. “Every night, it seems like there’s a different guy
that steps up and plays well, or a different line. Our goaltending
has been solid through it, but for the most part it’s been a solid
Ilya Bryzgalov improved to 9-2-5 with a 2.76 goals-against
average Sunday, while Phoenix captain Shane Doan returned from a
seven-game absence due to a lower-body injury.
Doan had two goals and two assists to help the Coyotes win their
final three games against the Oilers (5-10-4) last season, and the
streak continued Friday despite 39 saves from Edmonton’s Devan
Dubnyk, filling in for injured veteran Nikolai Khabibulin,
picked up his first win of the season Sunday by making 38 saves in
a 4-2 win at Anaheim.
“It’s exciting for me,” Dubnyk said. “You never want to see a
guy get injured, and we’re all hoping he comes back soon. But
that’s why you play so hard to be the number two goalie – so that
if something does happen, you’re the guy and not the one they call
up to be the backup. I worked as hard as I could to get to this
spot, and I’m just going to enjoy the chance to play.”
One road win was rare enough for the Oilers, 5-25-5 on the road
since Dec. 23. They’ve won consecutive road games once in that
stretch, both against Chicago on Oct. 29 and Nov. 7.
More contributions from rookie Taylor Hall would certainly help.
The top overall pick in the 2010 draft scored his fourth goal
Sunday – his first in eight games.
Ales Hemsky has led Edmonton offensively of late, recording a
goal and an assist in each of the last two games and scoring the
winner against the Ducks. Hemsky has nine goals and 15 assists in
14 games against Phoenix since the start of 2006-07, his most
points against any opponent in that stretch.