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Oilers-Avalanche Preview @NHLdotcom
Oilers-Avalanche Preview

GAME: Edmonton Oilers (30-18-7) at Colorado Avalanche (29-20-6).

TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.

With a win, the Edmonton Oilers can move into a tie for the Northwest Division lead. If Ryan Smyth keeps putting the puck in the net, that's likely to happen.

Smyth, with five goals in his last five games, and the Oilers look to continue their hot play as they face the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

Edmonton is 5-0-1 in its last six contests and trails Calgary and Vancouver by two points in the Northwest. With both the Flames and Canucks idle Tuesday, an Oilers win would create a three-way tie.

Edmonton has not won a division title in 19 years. In 1986-87, the Oilers won the Smythe Division and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Smyth scored in each of the first two periods Monday night in the Oilers' 6-5 shooutout win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

The Oilers are 17-3-2 this season when Smyth scores at least one goal, and just 13-15-5 in all other games.

"I'm going to create havoc, and it worked tonight in our favor," Smyth said.

Mike Morrison stopped all eight shots he faced in regulation and overtime in relief of starting goaltender Jussi Markkanen. He then improved to 5-0 in shootouts, denying all three Mighty Ducks shooters he faced.

Fernando Pisani had the only goal of the shootout after his first goal in regulation since Jan. 3 tied the game with 9:33 remaining.

"Just one of those things," said Pisani. "We'll just try and ride that momentum."

The Avalanche are in fourth place but sit five points behind the leaders in the competitive Northwest, which is in position to send four clubs to the playoffs.

The power play has let Colorado down in its last two games, losses to Detroit 3-0 on Saturday and at Nashville 4-3 in overtime last Thursday. The Avalanche went 0-for-15 with the man advantage in the two defeats after scoring at least one power play goal in their previous eight contests.

"It's been good all year, but the last two games it has really struggled. We have given away three points in two games, and it was the difference tonight," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday.

The Avs could receive a lift from right wing Milan Hejduk, who is expected to return after missing Saturday's game with a neck injury.

Hejduk had two goals and an assist in Colorado's 7-1 victory at Edmonton on Oct. 21, his first game back after knee surgery.

Edmonton has won two of its last three visits to Colorado.

STANDINGS: Oilers - 67 points, 3rd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division. Avalanche - 64 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Smyth, 25 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 41 assists and 57 points; Jason Smith, 72 PIM. Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 30 goals; Alex Tanguay, 39 assists and 62 points; Ian Laperriere, 86 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 18.0 percent (63 for 349), 12th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (284 for 339), 13th. Avalanche - Power play: 19.8 percent (69 for 349), 5th. Penalty killing: 85.3 percent (261 for 306), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Markkanen (15-11-6, 0 SO, 3.12 GAA); Morrison (10-2-0, 0, 2.29). Avalanche - David Aebischer (20-12-2, 2, 3.16); Peter Budaj (6-5-4, 0, 2.73).

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 3-2.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 29; Avalanche, 3-2. At Edmonton, Alberta, Laperriere scored two first-period goals and Joe Sakic provided the game-winner in the third period for Colorado.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 17-8-4 on the road; Avalanche - 17-8-5 at home.

Associated Press

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