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Oilers look to end five-game losing skid against Coyotes

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The Sports Network
1/24/2014 11:13:33 AM
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The struggling Edmonton Oilers look to end their five-game losing streak when they host the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Rexall Place.

The Oilers come in having lost five in a row (0-4-1) and 16 of their last 20 games, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

Jordan Eberle scored a goal in his third straight game and Ben Scrivens made 25 stops in his home debut after being recently acquired from the Los Angeles Kings.

"We were right there even with them," Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said of his team's late charge. "I thought the game started to tilt our way in the third period."

Eberle's goal-scoring streak has pushed his season total to 17 to go along with 23 assists in 51 games. He ranks third on the club in goals scored, behind only David Perron and Taylor Hall, who both have netted 18. Eberle is also second to only Hall's 47 points on Edmonton.

Eakins is expected to give Ilya Bryzgalov the start tonight and he is 9-2-1 with a 2.05 GAA in 13 starts against his former club, but did yield four goals on 45 shot faced in the previous meeting on Dec. 31.

The Coyotes are 0-3-2 in their last five games as the guest, opening a three- game swing with Wednesday's 3-2 setback to the Calgary Flames, failing to extend their opponent's franchise-worst seven-game slide at home. They look to snap a five-game road losing streak.

Antoine Vermette scored his second short-handed goal in as many games and Shane Doan had a third-period goal to again get Phoenix to within one, but the club lost its second straight game and sixth in its past eight.

Mike Smith turned aside 23-of-26 shots in defeat, which saw the Coyotes fail to score a power-play goal for the first time in nine games.

"We have to just keep pounding away," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We've got a lot of guys who are playing hard. We just have to turn it into results."

The Coyotes have won all three of their previous meetings with the Oilers this season and have won four straight and nine of the last 11 encounters overall. They have also claimed two in a row and seven of their last eight in Edmonton.

Smith is 7-1-1 with a 2.54 goals against average in his career versus the Oilers, starting all three meetings this season. He won the first two, but was lifted after 27 minutes of work in a 4-3 overtime win at home on Dec. 31. Smith yielded three goals on 10 shots, while Thomas Greiss stopped all 15 shots he faced in relief to get the win.

Jordan Eberle (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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