NHL

Oilers shifting lines ahead of Coyotes' visit

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers haven't just gone cold offensively. Frigid is a better word. Arctic. Frozen solid.

The Oilers have scored just twice in the last four games -- and have lost three of those contests. Their only win in that stretch came in a shootout at Montreal after the teams skated to a 0-0 stalemate through regulation and overtime.

So, expect a new-look Oilers lineup Tuesday when they host an Arizona Coyotes team that has found its collective groove.

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The issue with the Oilers isn't the top line of Patrick Maroon, NHL assist leader Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who is the only Oiler to crack the 20-goal barrier. It's the other three lines, which aren't providing any sort of secondary scoring. You have to go all the way back to Jan. 31 to find the most recent goal scored from outside of the top line, and that came from defenseman Oscar Klefbom.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan promised he will tinker with the power-play units, and he will break up his top threesome in order to try to spread what little scoring he has throughout his team. He had the three separated in practice Monday.

"When your five-on-five scoring goes dry, you need your power play to perform," said McLellan after practice Monday as his team licked its wounds from a 5-1 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. "Right now, they've both gone dry. Not only do we have to improve power-play wise, but obviously creating opportunities five-on-five.

"We can't rely on one line, hence the changes. We need to find a spark from an unsuspecting source, and even some guys we expect it from. They have to pick their games up a little bit."

Draisaitl said, "You have to have guys going at this point, teams are trying to make the playoffs. Games are getting tighter and tighter. We need to have balanced scoring, and hopefully we can have that (Tuesday)."

The game marks the fifth and final time the Oilers and Coyotes will meet in the regular season. Each team has won twice so far.

While the Oilers remain entrenched in the race for the Pacific Division title despite the recent slump, the Coyotes own the NHL's second-worst record and will be looking to play spoiler. But, as of late, the Coyotes are playing much better hockey than the Oilers. After a 5-0 blowout win over Calgary on Monday, Arizona is on a 6-2-1 run.

"We've got a stretch of games against teams that are either in the playoffs or battling for the playoffs, they're real competitive games," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They'll be good challenges for our group."

Coyotes captain Shane Doan added, "Obviously, the situation we're in is a tough one. We've got to find ways to worry about getting better every day, and that's really our focus."

On Sunday, the Oilers recalled right winger Iiro Pakarinen from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif., and sent center Anton Lander the other way. Pakarinen had been in the AHL on a conditioning stint, recovering from a preseason knee injury that has kept him out of the NHL so far this season. He had 16 points in 80 games for the Oilers in 2015-16.

Oilers left winger Benoit Pouliot fell heavily in practice Sunday and wasn't on the ice for Monday's session. McLellan said Pouliot would be reassessed on Tuesday.

Coyotes rookie Lawson Crouse is expected to be out of the lineup Tuesday because of a lower-body injury.