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COLORADO AVALANCHE (39-30-6) at
EDMONTON OILERS (37-33-5)
Start Time: 1:08 p.m. MDT
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Avalanche Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics 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.
LAST GAME: Canucks 4, Oilers 1
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...
Pre-game comments from Stoll, Penner Glencross, Gagner & MacTavish: 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Colorado: Sam Gagner
Pre-Game vs. Colorado: Curtis Glencross
Pre-Game vs. Colorado: Dustin Penner
Pre-Game vs. Colorado: Jarret Stoll
Pre-Game vs. Colorado: Craig MacTavish
Listen to all (in order: Gagner, Glencross, Penner, Stoll and MacTavish) . 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
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. 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."