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Preview: Oilers at Avalanche

Colorado, Edmonton each trying for third consecutive victory

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

OILERS (11-8-1) at AVALANCHE (9-9-0)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; ALT2, SNW, NHL.TV


Oilers team scope

The Edmonton Oilers are looking to build on their 5-0 win Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks, their second consecutive victory after losing five in a row. Cam Talbot made 31 saves for his third shutout and 10th victory. He was first off the ice after the morning skate and is expected to start. "It's a confidence-booster for us," coach Todd McLellan said of the victory against the Blackhawks. "The Chicago game should leave us feeling good all over the rink, but that confidence is earned every night. You can't ride that Chicago wave for two weeks or it will come back and bite you quickly." Center Connor McDavid had two assists against the Blackhawks after a hat trick Saturday in a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars to take the NHL scoring lead with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists). "It's still very early in the year and it changes almost nightly, so it doesn't really matter now," he said. "We're definitely playing well right now. We got out of that little funk we were in, we had a little bit of a slide there. We were able to find a way out of that. We won two big games and [defeated] the Blackhawks, one of the NHL's best, so we feel good about that and we want to keep it going. We're not having those mental lapses we were having, not making too many bonehead plays." Players' fathers are along for the two-game trip, which continues Friday against the Arizona Coyotes. "We want to make them proud of us," McLellan said.

Avalanche team scope

Semyon Varlamov will start after making 40 saves Monday in the Colorado Avalanche's 3-2 overtime win at the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Avalanche are opening a five-game homestand looking to climb above .500 for the first time since they were 4-3-0 on Oct. 29. Colorado has won two games in a row for the first time since winning its first two games of the season. "We have to take a step here," said Matt Duchene, who will play right wing with left wing AJ Greer and center Carl Soderberg. "We've been doing some good things. It's time to make a jump." The Avalanche have been playing from behind for most of the season, allowing the first goal 13 times in 18 games. "We have to do a better job of starting on time and taking control right away," said Duchene, whose overtime goal gave Colorado the win in Columbus. "We seem to find our way after being down a goal. We have to find it earlier." Colorado's other goals came from defensemen Tyson Barrie, his first since Oct. 15 against the Stars, and Erik Johnson, his first of the season. "Those are two guys that can help us coming out of our zone, on the rush and also in our offensive zone play," coach Jared Bednar said. "We need them to be a part of it. It's a five-man attack; it can't just be the forwards doing the work offensively." Center Mikhail Grigorenko, who has one goal in 18 games, will be scratched for the first time. Joe Colborne will play after sitting out against the Blue Jackets. He'll center the fourth line with left wing Cody McLeod and right wing Andreas Martinsen.

Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Jesse Puljujarvi  

Patrick Maroon -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle  

Anton Slepyshev -- Leon Draisaitl -- Zack Kassian  

Matt Hendricks -- Drake Caggiula -- Tyler Pitlick  

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson  

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell  

Darnell Nurse -- Matthew Benning  

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson  

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Mark Letestu , Benoit Pouliot

Injured: Brandon Davidson (upper body), Mark Fayne (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (knee)


Avalanche projected lineup

Rene Bourque -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

AJ Greer -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla  

Cody McLeod -- Joe Colborne -- Andreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Patrick Wiercioch  

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard  

Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Mikhail Grigorenko

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body)


Status report

Landeskog will miss his fourth game. He skated Wednesday and will do so again Thursday, when it will be determined if he can practice Friday and possibly play Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.


Who's hot

Draisaitl has three goals and three assists in a four-game scoring streak. Klefbom has three goals and one assist in a three-game streak. McDavid has three goals and two assists in his past two games. … MacKinnon has two goals and three assists in a three-game point streak. Johnson and Rantanen have has one goal and two assists in their past two games.

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