|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET0:00 BRT, November 4, 2019
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta Attendance: 17,105
Coyotes on the rise, visit Oilers next
Sitting just outside the top eight in the Western Conference, the Arizona Coyotes are facing a big opportunity this week.
Starting with Monday's road clash against the Edmonton Oilers, the Coyotes have four games in six days -- a pair of road games in Alberta and two at home -- and the chance to jump into a playoff position. Even though the NHL season is only a month old, it's a golden spot for the franchise that has missed the Stanley Cup playoffs in seven consecutive seasons.
The best part as they prepare to face the Oilers is how the Coyotes are rolling, with seven wins in their last nine games, the latest victory being a solid 3-0 count over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
"If you watch and we get going, we're a tough team," forward Phil Kessel said.
Tough enough to be a playoff team? Only time -- and 69 more games -- will tell that tale, but the Coyotes have certainly made big strides. Last season, the Coyotes faded down the stretch, with only three wins in their last 11 games, and just missed the playoffs. Lessons learned from that disappointment could be a factor this season.
"We're just maturing as a group and doing a great job of staying even keel," goalie Darcy Kuemper, who has been sparkling this season, said after beating the Avalanche. "We don't really get too high after a night like this and too low when it doesn't go our way."
The Coyotes made a roster move on Sunday, summoning forward Michael Chaput from the minors. Forward Brad Richardson is nearing a return from an upper-body injury but will not go on the road.
Speaking of teams that are flying high, the Oilers sit atop the Western Conference standings and are back home following a successful road trip that ended with a 2-1 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Goalie Mike Smith made 51 saves in the victory.
"They're obviously one of the better teams in the league with some of their best players coming back in the lineup, and that creates excitement for their group and gives them some energy," Smith said of the Penguins. "Coming into this game, I needed to be my best today, and we found a way to get two points, and that's what you have to do."
The Oilers continue to rack up the wins, but the nagging question remains: Have they finally turned the corner? After all, this is a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons and advanced only once in 13 years.
Those who see the glass half-empty will point to Smith's performance against Pittsburgh as a sign the shoe is about to drop. People who see the glass half-full will call the win proof the Oilers are able to collect victories outside of their run-and-gun method of the past.
"He (Smith) stood tall in there. (It was) a lot of work, a lot more work than I'd like to see him get," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "They were quicker than us, but we hung around the game and found a way to get points, and that's what it's about."
Smith's performance marked the sixth time in Oilers' history a goaltender made more than 50 saves in a game. Edmonton has a 5-0-1 record in those affairs.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 3, 2019