The month of December hasn't treated the Phoenix Coyotes so 5-0 ledger. The club hopes a quick two-game homestand will do the team some good, starting with tonight's showdown versus the Edmonton Oilers at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes are coming off back-to-back 4-1 losses to Minnesota and Anaheim, and have lost three in a row overall. In Wednesday's setback against the Ducks, Martin Hanzal posted the lone goal and Mike Smith gave up all four goals on 28 shots.
"We had some decent chances out there tonight, but it was messy in the third period," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett.
Phoenix is 6-6-2 at home and will also host the New York Rangers. It is currently tied with San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division -- two points behind front-running Dallas. The Coyotes have lost three in a row in regulation for the first time since Feb. 12-March 2, 2010.
Edmonton has dropped six of eight games and will resume a three-game road trip tonight in the desert. It lost the opener of the trek by a 3-0 score at Calgary on Saturday, as Devan Dubnyk allowed two goals on 33 shots in defeat.
"I think we're closer to beating them than we believe we are... the only guys that have any say in where this goes is our hockey team," Oilers coach Tom Renney said.
Earlier that day, Edmonton learned that defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for eight games due to his hit on Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday. The Oilers will close out the road swing on Saturday at San Jose and are 5-8-1 as the guest.
Forward Taylor Hall could be activated off of injured reserve Thursday and has been out with a left shoulder injury.
Phoenix defeated the Oilers, 4-2, on Nov. 5 this season at home and has won seven of the previous eight matchups in this series. Edmonton has lost five of its last six road bouts with the Coyotes.