|Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney (6) checks Coyotes winger Lee Stempniak during NHL action in Glendale, Ariz., last November. (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)
PHOENIX -- Last time the Edmonton Oilers came to Phoenix they got beaten up worse in the post-game media conference than they did on the ice.
And that’s not easy, considering they lost 5-0.
Head coach Tom Renney ripped into his club for a lack of passion and commitment, charges he hadn’t levelled before or since, in a vent that echoed in the dressing room for days.
The club took it to heart and went 6-1-1 in the next eight.
Today, they return to Phoenix on a five-game losing streak (2-11-3 in their last 16) and in dire need of another jump start, which they hope might come in the form of revenge against the Coyotes for that late November shellacking.
“It would be nice to get a little payback tonight,” said Andrew Cogliano. “Hopefully we can come out harder and get a better result. Last time we were in here it was a one-sided game, one of our worst of the season.
“We came out flat and they took it to us. The effort level was really down. When you get that you don’t get results. Tom made his comments and we responded. It was a bit of a turning point.”
Despite Edmonton’s woeful record and the relative ease with which Phoenix beat them last time, none of the Coyotes are taking this one for granted. The Coyotes are expecting a fired up opponent.
“When you get beat you want to respond, and I’m sure they’ll want to respond,” said Shane Doan. “I know that they went on a tear after we played them. Taylor Hall has stepped up and played really well for them and getting Horcoff back is huge, he’s a big part of their team.
Renney said Tuesday that the sag in passion has been addressed and corrected and the ailments now are mostly technical. At the time, though, they needed the public spanking.
“That’s history and we learned from that, obviously, and that’s what you want to have happen,” he said. “It was a tough way to learn, but an important thing to go through, no question.”
We’ll find out just how much they’ve learned when the puck drops at Jobing.com arena.
“We’re going to have to pay attention to two and a half hours of work,” said Renney. “This team isn’t going to go away; they want these points badly. We’re going to have to make sure we play a very patient, smart and passionate game to beat this team.”
LATE HITS: Devan Dubnyk will get the start in net. Neither Gilbert Brule or Jordan Eberle, out with ankle injuries, made the trip.