The Edmonton Oilers won’t have Ilya Bryzgalov available to start
against one of his former teams.
That’s hardly a concern for the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Oilers will likely start Devan Dubnyk on Tuesday night at
home, where he has never beaten the Coyotes in four tries.
Bryzgalov is out after he sustained an upper-body injury in
Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win at Dallas and didn’t return, with Dubnyk
replacing him. The Oilers recalled Jason LaBarbera from Oklahoma
City on Monday but did not announce how much time Bryzgalov will
Dubnyk, who is 0-2-2 with a 2.68 goals-against average in his
home career versus Phoenix (15-7-4), said he is still approaching
it as if he is the No. 1 goaltender.
“Obviously it’s a long year and there’s going to be stretches,
there’s going to be opportunity to take the rein,” Dubnyk said.
“That’ll be up to us to do that.”
The Coyotes faced LaBarbera, another former Phoenix goalie, in a
5-4 home win over Edmonton (9-17-2) on Oct. 26 in the only meeting
between these teams this season. They have lost three of four and
aren’t concerned about Bryzgalov, the all-time winningest goalie in
“We got lots to deal with thinking about our team, let alone
thinking about players that used to play here,” coach Dave Tippett
Phoenix is seeking a fast start after being outscored 28-16 in
the first period this season. It fell behind 3-0 in the opening 20
minutes in Saturday’s 5-2 home loss to Chicago.
”I don’t know what it is. We obviously aren’t ready for the
first period,” center Martin Hanzal said. ”We have to start
making sure we are ready because this is unacceptable.”
The Coyotes are starting a three-game trip through western
Canada. Tippett has said that backup goalie Thomas Greiss will
likely start Tuesday or Wednesday in Calgary.
Mike Smith is 6-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA in seven starts against the
Oilers with the Coyotes. Smith, however, is 0-3-1 with a 4.04 GAA
in his last four starts.
“He’s like the rest of our group here,” Tippett said. “We’re
kind of pressing a little bit.”
The Oilers, who have won four of six, spent Monday’s practice
working on a power play that has produced one goal in 25
“The power play for me, the biggest thing is about competing or
winning battles,” said winger Jordan Eberle, who has a team-high 23
points. “There’s a lot of times you’re not going to get that
perfect set-up or you’re not going to win that perfect draw to get
that set-up and you’ve got to chip it in or dump it in and you have
to win battles to get the puck back.”
The Coyotes are on a 7-0-2 run in this series since their last
regulation loss to the Oilers, 4-3 on Jan. 25, 2011. The last 10
meetings have been decided by one or two goals.
“Edmonton obviously is a good skill team, fast,” said Phoenix
winger Radim Vrbata, tied with Hanzal for the team lead with 22
points. “So we will have to play solid defense, no turnovers
because they could take advantage of it.”