As the NHL as a whole has around a dozen games remaining for each team, it's looking more and more like the Coyotes will have a playoff berth sewn up come April. They can take another step towards just that, when they visit the lowly Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
While there's no such thing as a "gimme" game in the NHL, a tilt with the Oilers promises to be about as close as one can get to a cakewalk.
Heading into the fourth meeting against the young group from Edmonton, the Coyotes have won two of the three contests to date, but that third is surely weighing heavy on their minds. That contest saw the Coyotes drop the game in the final seconds, but found themselves outplayed for the majority of the game.
As unfortunate as it is to be an Oiler fan these days, it hasn't gotten any easier with their recent slew of injuries. Nine players have found themselves on the trainer's table, including standout rookie Taylor Hall.
The Coyotes are no stranger to reading an injury report, having dealt with their own health issues of late. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla returned Tuesday against Calgary, leaving the Coyotes with only Martin Hanzal and Ed Jovanovski on the list of walking wounded. Hanzal is day-to-day, while Jovo is currently on injured reserve.
While a win for the Coyotes won't help them advance too high in the standings, a loss to Edmonton could hamper their playoff hopes a bit, at least in seeding. With a win and a Kings loss, they're in fourth, with home ice advantage for the first round. But a loss and a Blackhawks win leaves them in sixth.
You can follow along as the Coyotes continue their quest towards the postseason with Five For Howling, with the puck scheduled for a 6:00 drop, local time.