OILERS (12-8-2) at AVALANCHE (9-12-1)
TV: CBC, ALT (HD)
Edmonton 4-6-0, Colorado 2-7-1
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.
Colorado looks to turn around its struggles at home as the Avalanche play host to the red-hot Oilers on Saturday.
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.
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.
Nugent-Hopkins continues to live up to the hype as the rookie has notched 10 points (3G-7A) in just four games.
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.
The Avs' Chuck Kobasew
is just one goal shy of his 100th career goal.
"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."