TV: ALTITUDE (HD), SNET-West
LAST 10: Colorado 3-5-2; Edmonton 5-3-2
Season Series: It's the fifth of six meetings this season. Edmonton has won three of the first four, including 3-2 in the last game on Taylor Hall's third-period tally.
Big Story: Ten points separate these two division rivals from each other in the conference standings and two points separate the Avalanche (60) from the 8 th and final playoff spot in the West. However, anything can happen in the Western Conference standings and the Oilers are warming up with three wins in their last five games.
Avalanche : If the Avs miss the playoffs, they can blame their play against their own division. Colorado fell to 2-13-1 in Northwest Division games this season with a tough 3-1 loss at Vancouver on Wednesday. It was a 1-1 game until Jannik Hansen's goal late in the third period put the Canucks ahead to stay. The Avs played well and played hard but came away empty.
"It's disappointing, because we were in the game," coach Joe Sacco told the Denver Post. "We played well, we played hard, but just couldn't come away with a point."
The Avs lost goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere to a groin injury late in the first period. TJ Galiardi also left in the first period with a torso ailment. Varlamov stepped in for Giguere, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Edmonton: The Oilers' last two games were resolved in overtime with a 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday and a 4-3 win over the Senators last Saturday.
The Oilers came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits against the Leafs, with Jordan Eberle's 25th of the season earning them a point. But the Leafs got two when Edmonton misplayed a 3-on-1 chance and Toronto's Tim Connolly scored on the return rush.
"We battled back and tied it up, and then they get that power play goal and again we battled back and tied it up, and anything can happen in overtime," Eberle told EdmontonOilers.com.
Who's Hot: Milan Hejduk continues to produce for the Avalanche with three points in his last four games … Eberle leads the Oilers in points (55) and has five in as many games including his game-tying goal on Wednesday.
Injury Report: Colorado's Peter Mueller missed Wednesday's game with a torso injury. T.J. Galiardi and Giguere both left Wednesday's game with injuries, Matt Duchene is practicing with the team, but sat out his 19th game with a right knee injury. … For Edmonton, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss at least another week with a sprained shoulder. Corey Potter is day to day with a groin injury, while fellow blueliner Theo Peckham (facial injury) missed Wednesday's game.
Stat Pack: Edmonton's Sam Gagner has seven points against Colorado this season. … Varlamov has just four career starts against the Oilers, all this season; he is 1-3-0 with a 3.05 goals against average.
Puck Drop: Eberle sometimes gets lost on a team that has No. 1 overall picks Taylor Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, but he's earning the nickname "Captain Clutch" for goals like the one he scored on Wednesday to tie the game late in the third period -- as well as for his performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010.
"I've always wanted the puck on my stick at the end of the game," the 21-year-old told the Oilers' website. "I try to find that extra drive to put it in. Whether it's the first goal or the last goal, you always want to be the guy to score. I just try to always give our team a chance to win. Goal-scoring has everything to do with confidence, and right now I'm feeling confident. When you have that, you feel dangerous from anywhere."
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