(Sports Network) - It has been nearly six weeks since the Edmonton Oilers treated their home fans to a victory at Rexall Place. A visit from the Phoenix Coyotes could change that.
The Oilers look to halt both a five-game overall and home slide this evening, but face a Coyotes club that is on its longest winning streak of the season.
Edmonton opened up the 2010-11 season with back-to-back home wins, but has gone 2-10-3 since and has dropped five in a row at home since its last victory there on Oct. 10. The Oilers have been outscored 30-8 over their current five- game losing streak and were shut out, 5-0, at home by Chicago on Wednesday.
Nikolai Khabibulin made the start and allowed four goals on 31 shots before being lifted after the second period. The veteran netminder, who is just 4-10-1 this season with a 4.07 goals-against average, was then placed on injured reserve Thursday with a groin injury and the Oilers recalled Martin Gerber from the American Hockey League.
Gerber will likely back up Devan Dubnyk, who made 15 saves in relief of Khabibulin and has never before faced the Coyotes.
"I've got to go in there and give us a chance to win hockey games -- that's my job, that's our job, it never changes," Dubnyk told Edmonton's website. "It's important when you're in a funk like this that you do give the guys a chance to win, but you can't go out there and be trying to do something extraordinary outside of what you do. You've just got to go play the same way."
Though the Oilers have lost three straight to the Coyotes, they are 5-0-1 in their past six at home against the franchise.
Phoenix does come into this game on a roll, having won a season-high four straight games. The Coyotes stretched that win streak on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game tour of western Canada, knocking off Calgary, 3-1.
Martin Hanzal had a goal and an assist, Wojtek Wolski lit the lamp and Lauri Korpikoski added an empty-net tally for the Coyotes, who visit Vancouver on Sunday and are 4-3-2 as the road team this year.
Wolski's goal was just his second of the season after netting a career-high 23 last season.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 39 saves, including 16 in the opening period.
"Our puck play wasn't very good and Bryzgalov bailed us out in the first," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippet said.
Bryzgalov is 5-5-0 with a 3.44 goals-against average in his career versus the Oilers.