COLORADO AVALANCHE (39-30-6) at
EDMONTON OILERS (37-33-5)
1:08 p.m. MDT
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Avalanche Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
|Jarret Stoll #16 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on March 13, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
The string of important playoff-style games continues this afternoon as the Edmonton Oilers meet the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place.
Heading into Thursday’s action, the Oilers were five points behind each of Calgary, Colorado and Vancouver with all their remaining games against Northwest Division opponents.
On Thurday, Edmonton lost to the Canucks and Colorado lost to Calgary which means the Oilers remain five points out of a playoff spot but it's the Avalanche that are now the target.
Edmonton has surged from being essentially out of the playoff race to their current position despite a number of key injuries. They were 10-2-0 during a 12-game stretch with one of those losses coming to the Avalanche on Thursday, March 13 by a score of 5-1.
In six meetings with Colorado this season, Edmonton is 1-4-1 but with two more meetings against the Avs including today they can still catch them in the standings.
Colorado has also played very well over the past month. They were 9-2-0 over an 11-game stretch which included a six-game winning streak but have dropped each of their last three.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Edmonton’s top two scorers against the Avalanche this season have been forwards Sam Gagner
and Ales Hemsky
. Both players have two goals and three assists for five points. Last time these two teams met, Gagner scored the lone Edmonton goal… In six previous meetings this season between Edmonton and Colorado, Mathieu Garon has started three and Dwayne Roloson has started three. Each goaltender has been pulled once from a game. Garon is 1-2-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .901 save percentage while Roloson is 0-2-1 with a 3.60 GAA and .894 spct... Robert Nilsson was on a three-game scoring streak heading into Thursday’s game in Vancouver with a goal and three assists during that time.
AVALANCHE TO WATCH:
Tyler Arnason continues to play well against the Oilers. In six games this season, Arnason has four goals and seven points. Since joining the Avalanche, he has netted eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in 14 games including seven multi-point games. Arnason only has five goals and 23 points in 57 games against the rest of the NHL… Sophomore Paul Stastny is Colorado’s leading scorer despite missing close to a month due to injury. Stastny has 62 points and 22 goals in 59 games… After missing two weeks due to a concussion and shoulder injury, former Oiler Ryan Smyth returned to Colorado’s lineup last Saturday. He has one assist in the three games since his return... Two of Colorado's deadline acquisitions could get in the lineup today. Adam Foote returned from a hip injury on Monday against Minnesota while Peter Forsberg also returned for that game but then sat out Thursday's contest against Calgary. In four games with the Avs, Forsberg has two assists and is a minus-one.
Edmonton – Mathieu Garon (lower body) is probable. Geoff Sanderson (back) is questionable. Ethan Moreau (broken leg) is out. Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Colorado – Paul Stastny (flu) is probable. Peter Forsberg (groin) is questionable. Jordan Leopold (head) is questionable. Marek Svatos (knee) is out. Scott Parker (ankle) is out. Brett Clark (shoulder) is out.
Edmonton is 2-0-0 in afternoon games this season. They won 4-2 in Atlanta on January 20 and 6-5 in overtime at Chicago on March 9. Last season the Oilers were 1-3-0 in afternoon games with all four games happening on the road. The Oilers' all-time record in afternoon games is 35-48-10-1 and 8-11-3-0 at home. The last time the Oilers played an afternoon game at home, they defeated Nashville 3-2 in OT on March 5, 2006 ... Edmonton leads the all-time series 53-52-8-2 and have outscored the Avalanche/Nordiques 417 to 400... Colorado captain Joe Sakic has 999 career assists. He leads all active players currently and once he gets his next assist he will be just the 11th player in NHL history to record 1000 assists... Goaltender Jose Theodore.is 7-4-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. However, Peter Budaj has started five of six games this season for the Avs against Edmonton. He is 5-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .912 save percentage.
- Pre-game comments from Stoll, Penner Glencross, Gagner & MacTavish: 700K
The Other Side
- What's Leo Listening To? - Avalanche defenseman Jordan Leopold has been a music lover all his life. In this ColoradoAvalanche.com exclusive, Leo discusses how his interest in music began and provides a list of his ten favorite pre-game tunes ...more
- Jones Featured on "Hits of the Week" - David Jones' hit on Edmonton's Denis Grebeshkov is featured on NHL.com's Top 10 Hits of the Week. Click here for the video ...more
- Late Surge Not Enough Against Calgary - Ben Guite scored at the 5:52 mark of the third period and the Avalanche pressured Calgary late in the game, but the Flames held on for a 2-1 victory Thursday night at Pengrowth Saddledome ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Oilers sign Cody Wild - The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenceman Cody Wild to a three-year NHL entry level contract. | VIDEO | AUDIO | ...more
- Listen to Mathieu Garon on Oilers Live - Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon was the guest on Oilers Live Friday, answering your questions. | Listen to Audio | ...more
From the Wire
When the Colorado Avalanche last faced the Edmonton Oilers, a win moved them into sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division.
After dropping three straight since then, they find themselves just trying to hold onto a playoff spot as they go into Edmonton on Saturday for the seventh meeting of the season between the division rivals.
With seven games left in the regular season, Colorado (39-30-6) has a four-point lead over Nashville for the final playoff spot in the West, and a five-point lead over 10th-place Edmonton (37-33-5).
Putting even more pressure on the Avalanche is the fact that their final seven games are all against conference rivals, with two coming against the Oilers, and the other five coming against teams ahead of them in the standings - including one against Calgary, which is two points ahead of Colorado.
The Flames moved ahead of the Avalanche in the standings following their 2-1 victory over Colorado on Thursday.
Colorado, which had won eight of nine before the losing streak, trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period Thursday, and it didn't get on the board until Ben Guite's goal early in the third period. The Avalanche were outshot 28-16.
"We have to come out a lot harder than we did," Guite said. "They came out hard and we didn't match. We just sat there watching and the next thing we knew we were down 2-0."
They have scored a combined four goals in the last three games after scoring 10 in their previous two wins, including a 5-1 victory over Edmonton on March 13.
Colorado played Thursday without Peter Forsberg (groin) and Paul Stastny (flu), but hopes to have them both back Saturday. Stastny leads the Avalanche with 62 points, and has five assists in six games against Edmonton this season.
Colorado is looking for its sixth win in seven games this season against the Oilers when it closes this three-game road trip. The Avalanche's only loss was a 3-2 defeat in Edmonton on Feb. 24, and they are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games in Edmonton.
The Oilers, meanwhile, had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to the Canucks on Thursday. Edmonton came into the game having gone 10-2-0 in its last 12 games and was coming off an 8-4 win over Phoenix two nights earlier, but failed to take advantage of a big opportunity to pull closer in the postseason race.
"Obviously we took four steps back tonight," said goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who had 17 saves in the loss, which snapped a personal three-game winning streak. "We've got to make sure we're ready on Saturday and start moving back up the ladder."
The Oilers trailed 3-0 before Tom Gilbert scored 10:09 into the third period.
Edmonton has seven games against conference opponents remaining. Three of those are at home, where the Oilers are 21-16-1.
"It's not as good a situation as we had hoped for and had in our power to create but there is still a Plan B and another scenario," coach Craig MacTavish said. "We have to sweep somebody here and now we focus on Colorado."