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Oilers feeling good heading into matchup with Avs

by Deborah Francisco
OILERS (12-8-2) at AVALANCHE (9-12-1)


Last 10:
Edmonton 4-6-0, Colorado 2-7-1

Season Series: This is the second meeting of six between the Avalanche and Oilers this season. In their first contest on Oct. 28, Edmonton prevailed, 3-1. In six meetings last year they split the season series, 3-3.

Big Story: Colorado looks to turn around its struggles at home as the Avalanche play host to the red-hot Oilers on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Edmonton: The Oilers snapped a 17-game winless streak at the Xcel Energy Center with a 5-2 win over the Wild on Friday, picking up two points against the Northwest Division leader. Five different Oilers recorded two-point performances in the victory, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who notched a pair of goals.

"We're really proud of this win, we thought we played really well from start to finish," second-year forward Taylor Hall said. "We did all the little things from start to finish and we closed out a game which is a huge feat, especially against a team that is at the top of the conference, so we're feeling very good right now."

This victory comes after 6-2 win over the Predators on Tuesday and puts the Oilers in sixth in the Western Conference and second in the Northwest Division despite a brief four-game skid that slowed them down earlier in the month.

Colorado: Things are looking dim in Colorado as the Avalanche continue to struggle to win at home and are in the midst of a season-long eight-game homestand. This struggle was emphasized on Wednesday night when Colorado was shut out by division rival Vancouver, 3-0.

Although the Avalanche continually outshoot their opponents in every game, they have struggled to convert on scoring chances, have been shut out three times this season and are 1-5 in their last five games.

"We're on home ice; it should be easy for us to play on this ice," center Paul Stastny said. "We're well rested and I don't think there are any distractions. We can't score goals. The frustrations are pretty high. We have to find a way. We have to look at ourselves, everyone, and play for the guy next to each other and find a way to get goals."

Perhaps Colorado will receive a spark from some new line combinations as Matt Duchene skated on a line with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk in Friday's practice.

Who's Hot:
Nugent-Hopkins continues to live up to the hype as the rookie has notched 10 points (3G-7A) in just four games.

Injury Report: Edmonton is missing Cam Barker (ankle), Andy Sutton (groin), and Corey Potter (ankle). ... In Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson is sidelined with a groin injury while wingers Mark Olver (head) and Peter Mueller (concussion) have been on injured reserve since early October.

Stat Pack:
The Avs' Chuck Kobasew is just one goal shy of his 100th career goal.

Puck Drop: "I'll continue to tweak things to try and find the right (combinations)," Joe Sacco told the Denver Post, "but after a while you can only change so much. ... Sooner or later, you have to go out and you have to do it."

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