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Preview: Avalanche at Oilers

Edmonton can tie for first place in Pacific; Colorado attempts to end four-game losing streak

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (20-50-3) at OILERS (40-25-9)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, ALT, NHL.TV 


Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche are on a four-game losing streak and have lost six of their past seven games (1-6-0), including 7-4 to the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center on Thursday after leading 4-2 entering the third period. Colorado is last in the Central Division and has been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "We know what the standings look like, we have nothing to lose, it's about going out there and playing with pride and really getting ready for next year," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "For the guys that are going to be here, to go out and start learning how to finish those games, because if we start like this next year, it's not going to be pretty again. We have to make sure we do some of the little things right and finish off some of those games." Goalie Calvin Pickard will start. He has played in 42 games, taking over for starter Semyon Varlamov, who was ruled out for the season because of a groin injury. "[Pickard] was really good at the start of the year when we had [Varlamov], then as he started to play every night, he was in and out of his game a little bit," coach Jared Bednar said. "I think he's worked through that and he's been doing a good job, but this is the most games he's ever played; he's going to double his total from previous years."


Oilers team scope

The Oilers are two points behind the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks play at the Nashville Predators on Saturday; the Ducks host the New York Rangers on Sunday. The Oilers are on a four-game home winning streak and have won five of their past six games (5-1-0). They scored five straight goals in the third period against the Avalanche on Thursday after trailing 4-2. "We have to be ready to go right off the hop," captain Connor McDavid said. "We just weren't ready to go [Thursday]. There were a few different elements with the travel and [playing] the night before and all that, we can make all the excuses we want, but we just weren't ready to go. We'll fix that." McDavid's 87 points (26 goals, 61 assists) lead the NHL ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who has 82 points (42 goals, 40 assists). Edmonton, playing the first of a four-game homestand, is trying to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Goalie Laurent Brossoit will start for the first time since losing 4-1 at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 21. Brossoit entered in relief of Cam Talbot at Colorado and in a 4-3 loss at the Ducks on Wednesday. "It's always nice to get a start," Brossoit said. "I've been patient and working hard, so anytime I can get one, I'm happy."


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Rene Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Mikhail Grigorenko -- J.T. Compher -- Joe Colborne

Erik Johnson -- Mark Barberio

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Anton Lindholm -- Francois Beauchemin

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: John Mitchell, Cody Goloubef, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: none


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Drake Caggiula -- Mark Letestu -- Jujhar Khaira

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matthew Benning

Laurent Brossoit

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Iiro Pakarinen, Matt Hendricks, Anton Slepyshev

Injured: none


Status report

Khaira will be in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past eight games. He will replace Pakarinen on the fourth line. Brossoit is 2-1-0 in six games this season. … Grigorenko will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Thursday and will replace Mitchell on the fourth line.


Who's hot

Draisaitl had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) on a six-game multipoint streak. McDavid has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past six games. Lucic has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past eight games. Maroon has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past six games.

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