GAME: Colorado Avalanche (35-17-12-5) at Edmonton Oilers (28-27-12-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.
It's only been two days since the Colorado Avalanche last took the ice. But
so much has happened since Monday night in Vancouver they'll probably be glad
to get back to playing hockey.
Still reeling from the ugly incident that ended rookie forward Steve Moore's
season, the Avalanche will welcome several new players into their lineup when
they visit the Edmonton Oilers.
Moore was sucker-punched from behind by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi in
Monday's 9-2 win over the Canucks. Bertuzzi hit Moore in the side of the face
and then drove his head into the ice, apparently in retaliation for Moore's
open-ice hit last month that knocked Vancouver captain Markus Naslund out for
Moore's neck was broken, and he suffered a concussion and deep cuts on his
face. B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police are
investigating the incident.
"It doesn't matter what the score was, what the time was, what the place
was, what the history was, there's no room in our game for that," Colorado
coach Tony Granato said.
After Monday's game, the Avalanche picked up forward Matthew Barnaby from
the New York Rangers for defensemen Chris McAllister and David Liffiton, along
with a 2004 second-round draft pick.
On Tuesday, they acquired center Chris Gratton and defenseman Ossi Vaananen
from the Phoenix Coyotes, and goalie Tommy Salo from Edmonton.
Gratton and Barnaby will by gritty compliments to skill players like Joe
Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk. Salo will serve as backup to David
Aebischer, who has never started a playoff game.
Hejduk had three goals, and Sakic had a goal and three assists Monday for
the Avs, who have won just twice in their last eight games (2-3-2-1). Colorado
is in second place in the Western Conference, three points behind Detroit.
The Oilers are coming off Tuesday's 1-1 tie with the Calgary Flames, giving
them a point in each of their last four games (2-0-2).
Shawn Horcoff scored the tying goal at 9:53 of the third period for
Edmonton, which is in 10th in the conference, five points behind St. Louis and
Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot.
STANDINGS: Avalanche - 87 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Oilers - 70
points, 4th place, 17 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Hejduk, 35 goals; Alex Tanguay, 53 assists; Sakic
and Tanguay, 78 points; Peter Worrell, 151 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 20 goals
and 50 points; Radek Dvorak, 31 assists; Jason Smith, 94 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 8): Avalanche - Power play: 21.2 percent (65
for 307), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (260 for 308), 14th. Oilers
- Power play: 12.1 percent (34 for 282), 29th. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent
(243 for 303), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Aebischer (28-15-9, 4 SO, 2.07 GAA); Salo (17-18-6,
3, 2.58 with Edmonton). Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (8-12-3, 2, 2.40); Ty Conklin
(11-11-4, 1, 2.42).
SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 3-2.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 18; Oilers, 5-1. At Colorado, Smyth had a goal and two
assists for the Oilers, who scored three times in the second period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 18-4-7-4 on the road; Oilers - 17-12-4-0 at