COLORADO AVALANCHE (11-8-1) at
EDMONTON OILERS (8-12-1)
7:08 p.m. MST
Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Just seven points separates first from last in the Northwest Division – the smallest gap in the NHL currently – and six points separates the Edmonton Oilers from tonight’s opponent, the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche right now sit third in the Northwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference. With a win tonight over the Avs, Edmonton would close that gap to four points and improve their record to 4-3-1 in their past eight games. All eight of those games have been against Northwest Division opponents.
This is Colorado’s eighth game of an 11 game stretch during which they will play 10 games against their own division. The Avs have run into a rough patch of late with only one win in their last five games (1-3-1). They have lost each of their last three games by a combined score of 14-3. Their last game was a 4-1 loss in Calgary on Tuesday.
The Oilers also played a divisional opponent on Tuesday, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 in a thrilling shootout game.
This is Edmonton’s third game of the season versus Colorado. The Avs won each of the first two – 4-2 at Edmonton and 4-3 at Denver.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (11:47 AM):
Mathieu Garon will be getting the start tonight once again for the Oilers... Joni Pitkanen is a game-time decision. He will skate in the pre-game warm-up and be assessed from there. If he draws into the lineup, it looks like Allan Rourke will be a healthy scratch.
TONIGHT'S GAME ON MOLSON CANADIAN OILERS PPV:
If you can't make it to the game, you can still watch it on TV as the game will be seen on Molson Canadian Oilers PPV. Click here for information on how to order the game
SINGLES & STANDING ROOM STILL AVAILABLE FOR TONIGHT:
There are still great single seats and standing room tickets available for tonight's game against the Avalanche. For Molson Half-Price Singles, call 414-GOAL or go online to buy standing room seats together before they're scooped up!
OILERS TO WATCH:
Joni Pitkanen will be a gametime decision on whether he returns to the lineup from injury. Check back later this morning and we will provide an update on Pitkanen's status... With new line combinations, the Oilers had some success Tuesday against Vancouver. Andrew Cogliano
had an assist and played 17:58 – including time both on the power play and shorthanded – on a line with Dustin Penner
and Sam Gagner
. Penner scored a goal, ending a three-game pointless streak… Geoff Sanderson helped spark Edmonton’s power play as he played on the team’s second unit along with Cogliano and Gagner. Sanderson played a season-high 4:43 of power play time and had an assist with the man advantage… Tom Gilbert
spent 8:25 on the power play and had 28:43 total icetime with a goal and an assist Tuesday.
AVALANCHE TO WATCH:
Paul Stastny continues to lead the Avalanche in scoring with 22 points through 19 games. He also leads the team in goals with nine and is tied with Joe Sakic for the team lead with 13 assists… Former Oiler Ryan Smyth will make his second return to Rexall Place tonight. In the previous two games against Edmonton, Smyth has no points and is a minus-three. He has six goals and 13 points on the season through 19 games… Tyler Arnason has hurt the Oilers time after time in his career. Arnason has two goals and two assists for four points in two games this season against Edmonton. He has 10 goals and 22 points in 21 career games versus the Oilers.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (knee) is questionable. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Ethan Moreau (foot) is out. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Mathieu Roy (shoulder) is out. Fernando Pisani (colitis) is out; Colorado – Jordan Leopold (wrist) is out. Ian Laperriere (knee) is out. Karlis Skrastins (shoulder) is day-to-day. Ryan Smyth (broken nose) will play tonight in all likelihood.
Colorado is 2-7-1 on the road but rank among the league's best on home ice at 9-1-0... The Avalanche have not lost a game this season when leading after either the first or second period... Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Oilers had only four power play goals in its last nine games (4-for-38) but scored a season-high three times with the man advantage against Vancouver in eight opportunities… The Oilers have won five games in shootouts so far this season to lead the league in that category. Their only shootout loss came against the Avalanche two weeks ago. With four goals on six shootout chances, Ales Hemsky
leads the league.
Pitkanen provides boost to blueline -
After a brief skate this morning, Joni Pitkanen is very likely to make his return to the Oilers lineup tonight, playing in his first game since October 20. Should he play, his addition to the blueline will be welcomed in a big way. ...more
Pisani steps onto the ice with teammates for the first time -
Edmonton Oilers players had a familiar face join them at practice today for the first time this season. Number 34 skated in a full practice, moving that much closer to returning to the club. ...more
- Pre-Game video comments from Garon, Horcoff, Gilbert, Smid, Brodziak & MacTavish. 700K
Audio from Wednesday's Practice:
- Comments from Pisani and Reasoner on the return of Pisani to practice with the team. 700K
- Kevin Lowe gives an injury update on Oilers Live. 700K
Odds and Ends
- New Oilers Player Wallpaper Available! - You can now download the following players: Cogliano, Gagner, Greene, Hemsky, Horcoff, Moreau, Nilsson, Penner, Pitkanen, Roloson, Sanderson, Souray, Stoll, Tarnstrom and Torres with more coming soon! ...more
- Tickets for Troops Online Auction - Proceeds from the Tickets For Troops Online Auction will go to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and the Garrison Edmonton Military Family Resource Centre. ...more
- Christmas Packs Back for the Holidays - Edmonton Oilers Christmas Packs are back in time for the holiday season, with your chance to give the gift of hockey to the Oilers fan in your life. Follow the link to find out more information and to register. ...more
From the Wire
The Colorado Avalanche's recent offensive struggles on the road have them mired in their worst losing streak of the season.
The Avalanche look to get their offense on track and avoid their first five-game skid away from home in nearly four years when they meet the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Colorado (11-8-1) has lost a season-high three straight and four of its last five, totaling eight goals in that stretch. The Avalanche have mustered just one goal in each game during the slide - all on the road - and have allowed 14.
They fell 4-1 at Calgary on Tuesday, giving them three consecutive defeats for the first time since Feb 22-25. Colorado hasn't lost four in a row since last Nov. 7-15.
"I thought across the board everybody worked hard and did what we wanted to do as far as everybody contributing from shift to shift," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday's game. "I think we've got to build off and get excited about the next game because if you do those things right you'll generally come up with something."
Colorado is in the midst of its second four-game road skid of the season, but might welcome a visit to Edmonton, where it has won six of its last eight - including a 4-2 victory on Oct. 23.
The Avalanche are looking to avoid losing five consecutive road games for the first time since March 16-31, 2004. To avoid that mark, they will need increased production from top scorers Paul Stastny, Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski, who have totaled one goal and one assist during the three-game skid.
Colorado is also seeking to improve its power play on the road, which is the worst in the NHL at 7.3 percent (3-for-41). The Avalanche are 0-for-12 on the power play in the last three games.
Edmonton (8-12-1) is in last place in the Northwest Division, but avoided a third straight loss with a 5-4 shootout victory over Vancouver on Tuesday. The Oilers scored three power-play goals after going 0-for-12 with the man advantage in their previous three games.
"It's a huge relief for us," said center Shawn Horcoff, who had a goal and an assist on the power play as well as the decisive shootout goal. "We've been moving it pretty well but we obviously weren't getting the results. We worked very hard on it in practice and were finally able to do it."
Mathieu Garon made 20 saves to win for the third time in his last four starts and help Edmonton end a four-game slide at home.
These teams meet again next Wednesday in Colorado, where the Avalanche are 9-1-0 this season compared to a 2-7-1 mark away from the Pepsi Center.