Skip to Main Content

Playoff-bound Avs visit Edmonton

by Brian Compton

AVALANCHE (43-29-7) at OILERS (25-46-8)

Last 10 -- Colorado 3-6-1; Edmonton 4-5-1.

Season series -- This is the sixth and final meeting between the Northwest Division rivals. Colorado has beaten Edmonton three times, all via shutout. The teams last met on Feb. 6, when the Avalanche earned a 3-0 win at the PepsiCenter.

Big story -- Colorado guaranteed itself an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night, as it clinched a berth with a 4-3 shootout win at Vancouver, coupled with Calgary's 2-1 loss on home ice against San Jose.

Team Scope --

Avalanche -- Matt Duchene, the team's first-round pick (No. 3) at the 2009 Entry Draft, put his team into the playoffs when he beat Roberto Luongo in the third round of the shootout on Tuesday night atGM Place. It was the culmination of a remarkable turnaround by Colorado, which finished last in the Western Conference last season.

"Our goal all season was to make the playoffs and silence all the critics who said we were going to be 14th or 15th in the West," Duchene said. "To now clinch a playoff spot, it feels amazing."

Oilers -- Edmonton may be playing out the string, but the Oilers have earned points in back-to-back games and are coming off a 4-1 victory against Minnesota at Rexall Place on Monday night. Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau both scored twice for the Oilers, who will have the best shot at landing the No. 1 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft this June in Los Angeles.

Ironically, the Oilers will finish their season in southern California this weekend. They face the Kings on Saturday before wrapping things up on Sunday at Anaheim.

"It's late in the year and we're out of it and you can always say it doesn't mean anything, but it does mean something," coach Pat Quinn said. "It shows we can execute. We just need to do it when the games are way more meaningful than they are right now."

Who's hot -- Avs center Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist on Tuesday, extending his points streak to four games. … Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff has 15 points in his last 18 contests.

Injury report -- Colorado forward David Jones (knee) and Peter Mueller (concussion) are out. … The following players are out for Edmonton: Nikolai Khabibulin, Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Ladislav Smid, J.F. Jacques, Theo Peckham, Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner. Ryan Stone (knee) is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- By getting the start on Tuesday night, Colorado's Craig Anderson became the first goaltender in franchise history to appear in 70 games. With the Avs clinching a playoff spot, expect Peter Budaj to get the starting nod against Edmonton and probably once more before the playoffs.

Puck drop -- ''We faced our first adversity after the Olympic break and the playoffs started early and we weren't quite ready. If I'm outside looking in, I'd probably be like everyone else betting in Vegas we wouldn't have been there with our youth. But it was a special team all year.'' -- Colorado captain Adam Foote

View More