The Colorado Avalanche (7-6-3) closes out a two-game Canadian road trip in Edmonton as it takes on the Oilers (8-7-1) at Rogers Place on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. MT. The clash will be the first of three games between the Western Conference foes this season, with the next two contests both taking place at Pepsi Center on Dec. 11 and April 2.
The Avs hold a 63-43-11 all-time mark against the Oilers since moving to Denver in 1995, which includes a 29-21-8 record on the road. In three games against Edmonton last season, the Avalanche went 1-1-1. Samuel Girard led Colorado with two goals in those three contests, while Alexander Kerfoot, Tyson Jost and Colin Wilson each contributed one goal and one assist. Gabriel Landeskog recorded two assists in the season series against the Oilers.
Last Time Out
Colorado fell 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday in the first of two games north of the border. The Jets took a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Avs' Erik Johnson scored his first goal of the season early in the third frame to cut the Winnipeg lead in half. The Jets answered with a marker at the 5:42 of the stanza, but Tyson Jost found twine in his first game action since Oct. 26, making it a 3-2 contest. Winnipeg pulled away later in the period with a power-play goal from Patrik Laine and an empty-netter from Blake Wheeler, his fifth point (one goal, four assists) of the contest. Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves in his 11th start of the season. Kerfoot, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov and Carl Soderberg each picked up one assist.
The Oilers dropped a 4-1 decision to the Florida Panthers on Thursday at BB&T Center in Florida. Leon Draisaitl netted his 10th goal of the year off an assist from Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Edmonton netminder Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots as his season record fell to 5-6-1.
Last Time They Met
In their final clash of the 2017-18 season, the Oilers took a 3-2 win in OT on Feb. 22, as McDavid netted the overtime-winner. Draisaitl and Zack Kassian helped the Oilers jump out to a 2-0 lead, each tallying a goal in the second period before Samuel Girard scored with 19 seconds left in the middle frame. Colin Wilson added a marker just 50 seconds into the third period to tie the game at two goals apiece. Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 43 saves, his sixth-highest total of the 2017-18 campaign.
What to Watch
Big Mac Battle
Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton's Connor McDavid were both recognized at the 2018 NHL Awards for their accomplishments a season ago. MacKinnon was the runner-up for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, while McDavid took home his second consecutive Ted Lindsay Award as the league's best player as voted on by the members of the NHL Players' Association. McDavid was the first skater to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin in 2008 and 2009. Both centers rank among the league leaders in scoring this season, as McDavid currently sits third in the NHL with 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) while MacKinnon shares fourth place with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists).
The Avalanche is in the middle of a stretch that sees the club playing 14-of-20 games away from Pepsi Center from Oct. 9-Nov. 23. In away games this season, Colorado has scored an average of 3.7 goals per game, with its 37 total visiting markers ranking first in the NHL. Right wing Mikko Rantanen leads the team with 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) on the road this season, while left wing Gabriel Landeskog paces the team with nine goals away from home (nine goals, three assists). Nathan MacKinnon has 14 of his 22 points coming on the road (seven goals, seven assists).
Players to Watch
Colorado Defenseman Erik Johnson
The Bloomington, Minnesota, native notched his first goal and seventh point (one goal, six assists) of the season in Winnipeg on Friday. Johnson is two helpers shy of 200 for his NHL career. The 30-year-old, who has appeared in 450 games with the Avs, ranks second on the team in average ice time at 21:46.
Edmonton Center Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl tallied in his third consecutive game on Thursday, giving him 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) on the season. The 23-year-old has reached the 70-point milestone in each of the last two campaigns, registering 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in the 2016-17 season and 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) in 2017-18. In his last 10 outings, the Cologne, Germany, native has recorded eight goals and three assists, reaching the scorer's sheet in eight different games.
Sunday's clash between the Avalanche and Oilers is set for 7:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on AM 950, Altitude Sports Radio in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.