Coyotes in search of success within Pacific Division
The Phoenix Coyotes haven’t had as much success against Pacific Division opponents as they’d probably like.
However, the one Pacific foe against which they’ve had plenty of recent success will be visiting Phoenix on Tuesday night when the slumping Coyotes face the last-place Edmonton Oilers.
The only division opponent which hasn’t beaten Phoenix this season is the Oilers. The Coyotes (19-10-9) have lost nine of 13 against the rest of the Pacific and have won once in seven division games since Nov. 5, including four straight losses since a 6-2 win in Edmonton on Dec. 3. They’re 8-0-2 in their last 10 against the Oilers, with two regulation wins in as many tries this season.
Phoenix’s struggles within the division and overall continued in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Anaheim. It was the Coyotes’ fifth consecutive overtime game, of which they’ve won one.
They have lost six of seven overall, though they were pleased with earning a point against the Ducks after trailing 2-0 in the third period and playing overtime games on back-to-back nights.
"It was a real tough turnaround with (three) days off and then playing two games in less than 24 hours, so I give our guys credit for hanging in there, and we managed to salvage a point," coach Dave Tippett told the team’s official website. "That’s five games in a row in overtime (and) we have only got one extra point, so that’s a little disappointing."
Scoring goals has been the main concern lately with 13 in the last seven games. Phoenix has been held to one goal four times in that span, something that happened once in the previous 28 games. The Coyotes have yet to be shut out and remain among the league leaders with 2.95 goals per game.
Despite managing just six third-period shots against the Ducks, Phoenix got goals from Martin Hanzal and Mike Ribeiro in the last five minutes of regulation.
"I like the way our guys hung in there and battled," Tippett said. "Like a number of times this year, we found a way to scratch points out of situations that looked a little bleak. We’ll take the point and move on."
Hanzal has three goals in five games after going seven without a point. Ribeiro leads the team with 29 points and has three in the last two games after a five-game drought. He has six points in his last three games against the Oilers.
Goaltender Mike Smith, who had the night off Saturday, is 7-0-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average against Edmonton since joining the Coyotes in 2011-12.
The Oilers (13-24-4) are opening a three-game trip against division foes after Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Philadelphia. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak that followed six straight regulation losses.
Edmonton led 2-0 early in the first period but managed just eight shots in the final two periods and overtime, a night after a 2-0 win in Calgary.
"It wasn’t our best game, that’s for sure, but sometimes you have to take a look at what you’ve done," forward Taylor Hall said. "A back-to-back after a three-day break isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do."
Hall had a goal and an assist while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron also scored.
Hall has five points on the team’s current 2-0-1 stretch. Perron has four goals in his last three games against Phoenix.