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.