NHL Hockey

3
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Edmonton 1 1 0 1 3
Arizona 1 1 0 0 2
2
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, March 16, 2019
Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona  Attendance: 15,016

Oilers, Coyotes in different stages of postseason chase

Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes

  1. Edmonton has not scored more than four goals in 24 straight games, the longest active streak in the NHL and the team's longest streak since January-March 2015 (29 games).
  2. Arizona beat Anaheim, 6-1, on Thursday and has won 10 of its last 12 games. Since February 19, the Coyotes' 10-2-0 record is the best in the NHL and their 2.08 goals against per game is the second best behind the Stars (2.00).
  3. The road team has won each game in the series this season, with Arizona winning the last two games after Edmonton took the first matchup. The Oilers have earned points in eight of their last 10 games against the Coyotes after Arizona earned points in 25 straight meetings against Edmonton.
  4. With two assists on Wednesday, Connor McDavid joins Wayne Gretzky as the only Oilers skaters with three 100-point seasons before turning 23 (Gretzky had four such seasons). He joins Alex Ovechkin from 2007-08 to 2009-10 as the only active skaters with three straight seasons with at least 100 points.
  5. Vinnie Hinostroza recorded his first career hat trick against the Ducks on Thursday, his first two goals coming on the power play. He has 15 goals in his first season with the Coyotes -- he had 13 goals in his first three seasons with the Blackhawks.
  6. After losing three consecutive starts, Darcy Kuemper is 13-3-0 in his last 16 starts, posting a 1.93 GAA and a .941 save percentage. That save percentage since February 9 is the best in the NHL and that GAA is second best behind Jordan Binnington's 1.92 GAA (minimum 10 starts).

Now that the Arizona Coyotes have managed what seemed impossible only a month ago, the goal is to not fall victim to complacency.

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Coyotes (36-30-5) are three points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the final postseason berth, having won two straight games and 10 of 12.

Arizona, which has missed the playoffs the last six seasons, actually has the Vegas Golden Knights -- who sit third in the Pacific Division -- within striking distance.

However, as the Coyotes head into Saturday's home clash with what should be a very desperate Edmonton Oilers squad, their head coach is warning against looking at too many aspects other than playing their best each and every game.

"I'm sure everybody looks at the standings, but we're not going to focus on that. We can't let things get away," head coach Rick Tocchet said after the Coyotes beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-1 on Thursday night.

"We've got to stay focused on our team. People start getting excited and telling you how great you are, and you've got to be careful. You can't lose that edge. You can't lift your foot off the gas pedal," Tocchet said.

If the Coyotes want an example, they just need to look at Edmonton's previous opponent.

The Oilers (31-32-7) were rolling nicely with hopes of making a run to get in the thick of a playoff spot but suffered a crushing 6-3 loss to the bottom-feeding New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. New Jersey had lost seven straight beforehand.

"We took them lightly, took the game for granted," Oilers star Connor McDavid said in the aftermath. "I don't think we came to work. They are a good team. They work hard. They don't have the veterans in the lineup, but whatever they lacked in experience, they made up for in effort."

Which has the Oilers, eight points back of the Coyotes, pretty much facing must-win games in their final 12.

"We've played awfully well against good teams, especially on the road," head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We play our best hockey afraid. And playing teams ahead of you in the standings, there is a nervousness that goes with it. I think we're going to play well. If we expect to stay in the playoff race, we have to win two of the next three."

What remains to be seen is whether the Oilers go up against a Coyotes squad that will take a step back or wants to have a taste of dashing an opponents' playoff hopes with a few weeks remaining in the campaign.

"It's going to be a fun trip down the stretch," goalie Darcy Kuemper said. "We know how every game is important, how every point matters. You can see that focus game in and game out, and as a group it's making us a better team."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 15, 2019

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