Edmonton Oilers Gameday Preview: Arizona Coyotes – 3/27/23

The Edmonton Oilers are looking to win and move up the Pacific Division leaderboard. A matchup with the Arizona Coyotes is not a game that should be taken lightly, and definitely not one where they can play down to their opponent. The Coyotes have struggled this season, to say the least, as they currently sit second last in the Central Division with a 27-34-13 record through 74 games.

This will be the third and final time these two teams match up against each other. With the Coyotes already out of the playoff picture, they’ll be looking to play spoiler after dropping the first two games to the Oilers 8-2, and most recently on March 22, 2023, when they lost in overtime 4-3. The Oilers need every point they can get if they hope to move up anymore this late in the season.

The Oilers are well rested while the Coyotes are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night.

Notes/Keys To The Game

The Oilers are relatively healthy, which is a good thing as the playoffs are just around the corner and the players that are out are just about ready to make their return. A huge key in a game like this is to play hard, but not get caught up in any antics. The Coyotes have nothing left to play for except for pride, so a clean game whistle to whistle is what’s needed from the Oilers, so they can remain healthy.

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The defensive side of the ice has been a strong point for the Oilers over the last few games. Depth players like Warren Foegele, Devin Shore, and Derek Ryan have stepped up in a big way at both ends of the ice, but their defensive stability has been standing out over the past little while, so continued strength in that category will be needed.

The Oilers’ power play has been a strong point for the last few seasons and has been called the best special teams unit the NHL has ever seen. A continued strong performance when they get on the man advantage will be key to gaining momentum and winning the game.

Expected Goaltenders/Lineup Changes

There is no official word on who either team will start, but the expected matchup in net is Stuart Skinner versus Connor Ingram. Ingram comes in with a 6-13-8 record, a 3.30 goals-against average (GAA), and a .907 save percentage (SV%). Skinner comes in with a much better 23-14-5 record and holds a 2.93 GAA and a .909 SV%.

Stuart Skinner Edmonton Oilers
Stuart Skinner, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Oilers aren’t dealing with any new injuries, so the lines shouldn’t have any major tweaks that will surprise anyone. The Coyotes on the other hand have a number of injuries that may still be affecting their lineup. Zack Kassian remains listed as “day-to-day” with an upper-body injury, while Brett Ritchie is still listed as “Out” with an illness.

Josh Brown and Laurent Dauphin also remain out while the Oilers are still waiting on the return of Ryan McLeod, who is expected to be back any game now.

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The Oilers have already won the season series over the Coyotes, so while they can’t take them lightly, it should still be a cakewalk. The 8-2 pounding they gave them back in December is the style of hockey they’ll want to play, but the battle the Coyotes put on when they were able to force overtime is what they should be expecting from a team that has nothing to lose.

By sticking to the game plan and simply outworking their opponent in the dirty areas, this game shouldn’t be too close. The talent is lopsided for the Oilers, it’s just a matter of executing.