Coyotes at Oilers
Conor Garland is listed at 5-10, 165 pounds, but has become a large presence on the ice as the Arizona Coyotes continue a three-game trip through Western Canada on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. The Scituate, Mass., native has taken advantage of injuries to Christian Dvorak, Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz, and has six goals in his first 16 NHL games - four in the past three contests.
"I feel more and more comfortable after every game,” Garland told reporters earlier this week before scoring in Thursday's 4-3 overtime victory at Vancouver. “I get to watch video after the games, talk to the coaches and learn new things. It’s feeling a lot more comfortable and it’s slowing down so that feels good.” Edmonton has rebounded from a six-game losing streak by winning three of its last five contests after Thursday's 4-3 shootout victory over Florida with Connor McDavid recording two goals and an assist. "He was their game tonight,'' Panthers coach Bob Boughner told reporters. "He was all of their offense again and it seems like he does it to every team every night.” The Oilers have won two straight meetings and seven of the last eight encounters after a 3-1 victory in Arizona on Jan. 2 that featured two goals and an assist by McDavid, who has 13 points (three goals) in 12 career games versus the Coyotes.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Arizona, Sportsnet (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (19-21-3): Alex Galchenyuk has scored four of his seven goals and accumulated half his 22 points this season in the last nine games. Fellow forward Clayton Keller leads the club with 30 points but has been kept off the scoresheet in three of his last four games. Kevin Connauton, one of two regular defensemen with a positive rating (plus-1), has missed the last three games - the first two because of a lower-body injury and the last as a healthy scratch, according to coach Rick Tocchet.
ABOUT THE OILERS (21-20-3): McDavid has 26 goals and 66 points - tied for sixth and tied for third in the league entering Friday - with half his goals and points coming in the last 19 games. Leon Draisaitl (23 goals, 54 points), who was voted onto the Pacific Division All-Star team Friday, has seven goals - one versus Arizona on Jan. 2 - and five assists in the past nine contests. Alex Chiasson (22 points) recorded his fifth assist of the season Thursday after scoring his 17th goal in Tuesday's 7-2 loss at San Jose.
1. The Coyotes lead the league in penalty killing at 88.5 percent (12-for-12 in the last five games) and faces an Edmonton power play that is 1-for-12 in its past five contests, while the Oilers have killed 17-of-18 penalties in the last eight.
2. McDavid has recorded at least three points in an NHL-most 37 games since beginning his career in 2015-16.
3. Garland and D Niklas Hjalmarsson share the team lead with a plus-5 rating.