The Phoenix Coyotes are one of three NHL clubs without a 20-goal scorer. Yet unlike the other two, the Coyotes are among the league’s highest-scoring teams.
Hoping its balanced attack leads to a second consecutive playoff berth, Phoenix goes for its fourth straight victory Thursday night when the injury-ravaged Edmonton Oilers return home from a difficult trip.
Phoenix (37-23-11), Nashville and Ottawa are the only clubs without a 20-goal scorer, but the Coyotes are averaging 2.85 goals while the Predators and Senators are among the league’s worst, scoring 2.47 and 2.24 per game, respectively.
“We don’t have any 50-goal scorers or 100-points guys, we just have a lot of guys that chip in and do the dirty work and when we win, we win as a team,” Yandle said Tuesday after scoring his 11th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory at Calgary.
Phoenix, tied with Los Angeles for fourth place in the Western Conference and just three points behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose, is averaging 3.8 goals during a 4-0-1 stretch following a season-worst 0-4-1 skid.
“I like the way our guys are working,” said coach Dave Tippett, whose team last won four in a row during a season-best eight-game run Feb. 5-22. “… Right now we’re getting a couple bounces here and there, but our team is working hard for those bounces.”
The Oilers (23-38-9) seemingly can’t catch any breaks as their top three scorers - Sam Gagner(notes) (hand), Taylor Hall(notes) (ankle) and Ales Hemsky(notes) (shoulder) - are out for the season with injuries. Captain Shawn Horcoff(notes) could be sidelined for a week or more after suffering a hairline fracture to his left foot in Sunday’s 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh.
Edmonton dropped four straight to end a 1-3-1 trip.
“Adversity is part of every team’s season no matter what,” coach Tom Renney told the Oilers’ official website. “What we have to do is learn how to deal with that as a group, first as a coaching staff and how we maneuver our lineup.”
The club is hoping Teemu Hartikainen(notes), a 20-year-old forward called up Monday, will make an impact in his NHL debut as he joins a club that has been outscored 16-3 and gone 0 for 15 on the power play during its skid.
Bryzgalov is 2-1-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average against Edmonton in 2010-11. He made 27 saves in the teams’ previous meeting at Rexall Place - a 4-3 Coyotes shootout victory Nov. 19. Phoenix trailed by three in the second period of that matchup.
The Oilers, who lost 5-0 at Phoenix on Nov. 23, overcame a two-goal deficit and avoided a sixth straight loss in this matchup with a 4-3 victory Jan. 25.
The Oilers have won five of seven at home following a season-worst seven-game skid there, but Phoenix has posted two straight victories in Edmonton after losing each of its previous five visits.