With a playoff berth hanging in the balance, the Phoenix Coyotes picked perhaps the worst point of the season for their offense to fall silent.
They hope hosting the woeful Edmonton Oilers on Friday night helps ignite their scoring.
Phoenix (36-28-13) led Dallas by five points for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference prior to totaling just two goals while dropping their last three contests. Now just behind the Stars, the Coyotes play four more games before hosting them April 13 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Coyotes’ 17 shots in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at Los Angeles marked their fewest since they recorded 16 in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Oct. 18, 2011. Thomas Greiss made 28 saves in his fifth straight start in place of the injured Mike Smith, but was left out to dry as Phoenix was shut out for the second time this season.
"We are still out of the playoffs right now, but we all know how important these points are," said Martin Hanzal, who has just one goal on 46 shots over his last 19 games. "So we have to make sure we win the rest and get in."
Phoenix is trying to avoid losing a fourth straight home game for the first time since a five-game losing streak Jan. 17-Feb. 2, 2011, but has to like its chances given its recent history against Edmonton. The Coyotes are 15-1-2 in the series against the Oilers since Jan. 5, 2010, and took the season’s first four matchups. They totaled 19 goals and scored four on 13 power-play chances while Edmonton went 1 for 14.
Radim Vrbata had seven points in those four meetings but has just one in his last seven games. Keith Yandle has four goals and two assists in the season series but has gone five straight games without a point.
The Oilers (26-42-9), at the bottom of the conference standings, have had difficulty stopping everyone lately. They’ve allowed 34.7 shots per game while surrendering at least three goals in each contest during a 1-6-0 stretch.
They were on the verge of an upset Wednesday in Anaheim with a 2-0 lead following Jordan Eberle’s goal at the 2:51 mark of the third, but the Ducks rallied for a 3-2 victory.
Viktor Fasth stopped 23 shots in his first game against Anaheim since being traded from the Ducks on March 4 but gave up the go-ahead goal with 1:21 to play.
"It’s heartbreaking," coach Dallas Eakins said. "It’s games like these that you want your players to feel the reward of the points."
David Perron has scored just once in his last 10 games overall but has six goals over his last five matchups with the Coyotes.
Phoenix has scored more than three goals just twice in its last 25 games but has done so in every matchup with Edmonton this season.
The Oilers are giving up a league-worst 3.30 goals per game.