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Desperate Oilers ready for visit from Coyotes

The changes keep on coming for the Edmonton Oilers in the hopes that something -- anything -- can turn their fortunes.

Edmonton's playoff hopes are pretty much on life support these days, even with the middling records necessary to be in the Western Conference's wild-card battle, but the Oilers (24-29-5, 53 points) are desperately trying to find something to jolt alive their slim chances.

The latest moves came Monday, when the Oilers activated defenseman Andrej Sekera from the injured list and summoned forward Josh Currie from the AHL's Bakersfield Condors in time for Tuesday's home clash with the Arizona Coyotes.

Sekera suffered a torn Achilles in the offseason and is slated to make his season debut, while Currie is eying his NHL debut.

While Sekera's addition will help solidify Edmonton's defense, the hope is Currie will add scoring punch to a club that's gone ice cold. Currie, 26, is an undrafted right winger who was signed by the Oilers last summer and was leading the Condors with 24 goals -- 15 of which came in his last 17 games -- to go with 37 points.

The Oilers have lost four straight games, while scoring only six goals. Their latest defeat was a 5-2 loss at the New York Islanders on Saturday -- which was a 3-2 affair with less than three minutes remaining.

"Pretty much a one-goal game the whole game, but close doesn't cut it at this time of year," Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson told Postmedia.

The moves came after a weekend in which the Oilers reacquired forward Sam Gagner and traded away goalie Cam Talbot in exchange for goalie Anthony Stolarz, which makes Mikko Koskinen their No. 1 netminder.

"This is a test drive for Koskinen. What can Koski handle? That's our priority. What can he accomplish?" coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We want to see how he deals with this -- this is a new experience for him and us. Can he handle the type of load that starters handle?"

Edmonton, which has just one victory in its last 11 games and a 6-17-2 mark since Dec. 16, also placed forwards Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi on injured reserve on Monday.

The Coyotes (26-27-5, 57 points) are coming off a 5-2 defeat to the Calgary Flames on Monday afternoon, their second loss in three games. The Coyotes were hanging tough through the first two periods, but the Flames tallied with 3:13 left in the second and added two more in the third.

"When you give them those chances they're going to take advantage of it," Jordan Weal said. "It was one of those games we were playing hard, we were getting in there and we were trying to make stuff happen. We were getting close, and it seems like one little breakdown would turn into something big for them. Some nights that happens. Some nights it doesn't."

The key for the Coyotes, though, will be to file away that game right away and regroup for the Oilers.

"It's tough because it is so important every game. I think it's just not worrying about the standings or anything like that," Weal said. "Right now our goal should be getting above .500, and then it should be getting to 10 games above .500.

"You've got to get to 90 points, 92 points. I think it's going to be the line this year, especially with how tight it is on this side."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 18, 2019

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