While nobody is going to mistake Saturday's game between the 30th-place Edmonton Oilers
and 29th-place Colorado Avalanche
at Rexall Place as a meeting of powerhouses, don't tell the players or the coaches there isn't anything at stake.
"We'll let the people who want to discuss that do that," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "That's their privilege. We're going to go try and win a hockey game.
"We're just going to go play. We want to win. That's what we're supposed to do and that's what we're going to try to do."
The Oilers, 0-4-1 in their last five games after a 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes
on Thursday, have already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche, winless in 10 straight and 14th in the conference, will join them if they lose in regulation Saturday.
"Colorado has a lot of pride, just like we do," said Oilers defenseman Kurtis Foster
. "I think we all understand where we are in the standings, but we want to get wins.
"It's not about where we are in the standings or if we want to get the first or second pick (in the 2011 Entry Draft). It's not about that. You ask any player in here, any player in the League, they're not botching games just to get a pick. You want the guy beside you to know you're going to give it your best every night. We're out there to win."
Around the rink --
Colorado's 5-2 loss in Calgary on Thursday dropped them to 2-20-2 since Jan. 20. ... The Oilers have won three of four meetings in the season series and are 4-0-1 in their last five games against the Avalanche. ... With season-ending injuries to Sam Gagner
, Ales Hemsky
, Ryan Whitney
and Taylor Hall
, rookie Jordan Eberle
is Edmonton's leading active scorer with 36 points. ... Matt Duchene
leads Colorado in scoring with 54 points and he's second with 22 goals. ... Colin Fraser
took a shot in the right foot against Phoenix and will not play Saturday, so the Oilers' depleted forward lines have been juggled again. ... Colorado is will be without Milan Hejduk
(shoulder) and Adam Foote
(ankle). ... Devan Dubnyk
is 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average against Colorado this season, but Nikolai Khabibulin
will get the start.
Here are the likely forward lines and defense pairings for tonight's game between the Oilers and Avalanche:
Matt Jones-Andrew Cogliano-Jordan Eberle
-Liam Reddox-Linus Omark
-Ryan O'Marra-Teemu Hartikainen
-Chris Vande Velde-Jason Strudwick
-Matt Duchene-Daniel Winnik
-Paul Stastny-David Jones
-Ryan O'Reilly-Brandon Yip
-Philippe Dupuis-Jay McClement