The Edmonton Oilers won't have Ilya Bryzgalov available to start against one of his former teams.
That's hardly a concern for the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Oilers will likely start Devan Dubnyk on Tuesday night at home, where he has never beaten the Coyotes in four tries.
Bryzgalov is out after he sustained an upper-body injury in Sunday's 3-2 shootout win at Dallas and didn't return, with Dubnyk replacing him. The Oilers recalled Jason LaBarbera from Oklahoma City on Monday but did not announce how much time Bryzgalov will miss.
Dubnyk, who is 0-2-2 with a 2.68 goals-against average in his home career versus Phoenix (15-7-4), said he is still approaching it as if he is the No. 1 goaltender.
"Obviously it's a long year and there's going to be stretches, there's going to be opportunity to take the rein," Dubnyk said. "That'll be up to us to do that."
The Coyotes faced LaBarbera, another former Phoenix goalie, in a 5-4 home win over Edmonton (9-17-2) on Oct. 26 in the only meeting between these teams this season. They have lost three of four and aren't concerned about Bryzgalov, the all-time winningest goalie in Phoenix history.
"We got lots to deal with thinking about our team, let alone thinking about players that used to play here," coach Dave Tippett said.
Phoenix is seeking a fast start after being outscored 28-16 in the first period this season. It fell behind 3-0 in the opening 20 minutes in Saturday's 5-2 home loss to Chicago.
''I don't know what it is. We obviously aren't ready for the first period,'' center Martin Hanzal said. ''We have to start making sure we are ready because this is unacceptable.''
The Coyotes are starting a three-game trip through western Canada. Tippett has said that backup goalie Thomas Greiss will likely start Tuesday or Wednesday in Calgary.
Mike Smith is 6-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA in seven starts against the Oilers with the Coyotes. Smith, however, is 0-3-1 with a 4.04 GAA in his last four starts.
"He's like the rest of our group here," Tippett said. "We're kind of pressing a little bit."
The Oilers, who have won four of six, spent Monday's practice working on a power play that has produced one goal in 25 opportunities.
"The power play for me, the biggest thing is about competing or winning battles," said winger Jordan Eberle, who has a team-high 23 points. "There's a lot of times you're not going to get that perfect set-up or you're not going to win that perfect draw to get that set-up and you've got to chip it in or dump it in and you have to win battles to get the puck back."
The Coyotes are on a 7-0-2 run in this series since their last regulation loss to the Oilers, 4-3 on Jan. 25, 2011. The last 10 meetings have been decided by one or two goals.
"Edmonton obviously is a good skill team, fast," said Phoenix winger Radim Vrbata, tied with Hanzal for the team lead with 22 points. "So we will have to play solid defense, no turnovers because they could take advantage of it."
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Phoenix Coyotes
- Ilya Bryzgalov
- Devan Dubnyk