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EDMONTON OILERS (33-27-9) at
COLORADO AVALANCHE (31-38-2)
Start Time: 7:08 p.m. MDT
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Avalanche Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison Oilers Twitter Lineup Updates:
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
The Edmonton Oilers open a three-game road trip tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Edmonton will be looking to avenge a loss this past Saturday at Rexall Place to the Avs.
In that game, the Oilers came out flying with an early goal and a 6-1 edge in shots but a Colorado power play and subsequent Darcy Tucker goal turned the tide. The Avs eventually took the lead and Edmonton battled back to tie it in the third period but Colorado ultimately prevailed in overtime - sending Edmonton to its third consecutive OT defeat.
Edmonton was able to extinguish its overtime demons on Tuesday night, defeating the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in a shootout. The win moved the Oilers back in a playoff spot, which is where they sit today - eighth place in the Western Conference.
Colorado has lost twice since beating Edmonton. They fell 4-2 to Vancouver and 3-2 in a shootout to Minnesota.
This is the sixth and final meeting of the season between Edmonton and Colorado. The Avs have won three times and Oilers have won twice.
Just The Facts...
Preview: Bob Stauffer & Louie DeBrusk break down tonight's game. Pre-game comments from Shawn Horcoff, Andrew Cogliano, Denis Grebeshkov and Craig MacTavish. Exclusive: Bob Stauffer with Steve Tambellini. COMING SOON: The Other Side - Wolski, Liles, Laperriere, Smyth and head coach Tony Granato Pre-Game Audio... Shawn Horcoff Andrew Cogliano Craig MacTavish Exclusive: Bob Stauffer with Steve Tambellini Wednesday's Audio Craig MacTavish comments on the plane
Oilers fly to Denver; MacTavish comments on the plane - The Edmonton Oilers travelled to Denver on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday's kick-off to the team's three-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche. While in mid-flight, MacTavish spoke to the media. ...more
The Other Side - news from coloradoavalanche.com
Practice Report: Defensive Rotations - Defensemen Derek Peltier and Mike Vernace - both of whom made their NHL debut on Tuesday - could be back in the lineup against Edmonton. Meanwhile, the playing status of Paul Stastny and Darcy Tucker will be decided prior to the game ...more This Week in Avalanche Hockey - March 18 - The Colorado Avalanche returns home from a three-game road trip to welcome Northwest Division rival Edmonton to Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Avs then face San Jose in a Sunday road contest ...more
From the Fans
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board.
Odds and Ends
5 Questions with Patrick O'Sullivan - What do Tiger Woods, college coach Mike Eaves, and Britney Spears have in common? Not much, but new Oiler Patrick O'Sullivan managed to give them each a mention in his first Off The Ice interview. ...more Enter to win a Sirius Satellite Radio! - Enter to win a Starmate 5 plug-n-play radio from SIRIUS Satellite with 6 FREE months. To enter, click the link below before March 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm (MDT). You must be 18 years of age or older to qualify to win. ...more The LINK: St. Patty's Day and Get to know Kotalik and O'Sullivan - In this special St. Patrick's Day edition of The Link, we get to know the two newest Oilers - Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik - a little better. We also talk about tonight's St. Patrick's Day Puck Surprise promotion. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers have posted at least one point for five games in a row. They hope to claim two in a second consecutive contest for the first time in a month when they visit the last-place Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
The Oilers (33-27-9), in the thick of a crowded bottom half of the Western Conference playoff chase, are 2-0-3 in their last five games after going 2-4-2 in the previous eight. They haven't won back-to-back games since a three-game run from Feb. 11-16.
They kept their current point streak intact Tuesday, beating St. Louis 2-1 in a shootout. The victory also snapped a three-game losing streak in which each contest was decided in overtime, including Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Avalanche (31-38-2).
Seven of Edmonton's last nine games have been decided by one goal.
"Those situations are crucial right now at this point of the season," Oilers right wing Ales Kotalik said after netting the lone shootout goal Tuesday. "To be able to contribute this way to help the guys get a huge two points felt pretty good. I'm thrilled and happy for all the guys on this team to get a win after putting so much effort into this game."
Kotalik, acquired from Buffalo at the March 4 trade deadline, is third in NHL history with 19 shootout goals and that total includes 10 game-winners to tie Altanta's Slava Kozlov for the league record. This season, Kotalik has had 12 attempts in shootouts and converted a career-high seven, two behind Avalanche left wing Wojtek Wolski for the league lead.
Kotalik, though, hasn't recorded a point in six games with the Oilers after totaling 13 goals and 19 assists in 56 contests with Buffalo this season. He has one goal in five career games against Colorado but found the net on his only career shootout attempt against Avs goaltender Peter Budaj in a 2-1 Sabres win on Oct. 25.
Edmonton, which plays five of its next six on the road, is 2-1-2 against Colorado this season, including a split of two games at the Pepsi Center. The Oilers took the last meeting there, 3-2 on Jan. 16 to snap a five-game road losing streak in the series.
The Avalanche, tied with Phoenix at the bottom of the West, are looking to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 3-2 in a shootout at Minnesota on Tuesday night and 4-2 at Vancouver on Sunday.
Colorado might use Budaj in net for a second consecutive game after he made 27 saves Tuesday. He's been much more effective than Andrew Raycroft of late, going 3-1-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average in his last five games after losing his five previous starts - getting pulled in one - while posting a 4.07 GAA. Raycroft is 0-5-0 with a 2.86 GAA in his last six games.
Budaj is 5-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA in seven home meetings with Edmonton.
Another factor on his side is how poorly the Oilers' special teams have been recently. Edmonton is 3-for-41 on the power play in its last 12 games and its opponents are 11-for-27 over the last eight.