DENVER, CO - On a tumultuous day where David Perron was traded, the Edmonton Oilers need to refocus on the task at hand as they play the Colorado Avalanche tonight in Denver to cap off a two-game road trip.
"We're playing against a team that's highly skilled and if we can accomplish (a win) it'll be a great road trip for us," said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson following morning skate.
Nelson added his thoughts on the Perron trade.
"For the brief time that I had to work with David, it was a pleasure. He's a hard-working guy that goes into the gritty areas," he said. "It's a great opportunity for him."
With Perron gone, the lines tonight have been shaken up somewhat.
Lines at morning skate where:
Hall - RNH - Eberle Purcell - Roy - Pouliot Fraser - Lander - Yakupov Hendricks - Gordon - Gazdic
Ference-Petry Klefbom-Fayne Nikitin-Schultz
Ben Scrivens gets the start in goal.
POULIOT DRAWS IN
One big notable is Benoit Pouiot drawing in on a line with Derek Roy and Teddy Purcell. Pouliot has missed 18 games with a broken foot but gets an opportunity to play tonight.
"I felt (skating) yesterday was more knowing if I'd be ready and I felt good. It's going to be good to get back in," Pouliot said. "I can't wait to be back with the boys."
Pouliot was also looking forward to playing on a line with new acquisition Derek Roy.
"Hopefully we can develop some good chemistry," he said.
Todd Nelson said the ability to add Pouliot to the lineup helps, with Perron leaving.
"It's pretty much a seamless transition we can make. We add a quality forward to our lineup tonight," Nelson stated.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (8-22-8) at AVALANCHE (14-15-8)
TV: SNW, ALT
Season series: Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall had a hat trick and a four-point game in an 8-2 rout of the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 5, 2013, but the Avalanche responded to take the next two games by a combined 8-3 score. Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored a power-play goal in each of the Colorado wins.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton defenseman Keith Aulie was suspended for two games Thursday after he received a five-minute major and game misconduct for an illegal check to the head of Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan in a 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday. Forward Tyler Pitlick sustained a lacerated spleen and remained in Calgary for evaluation. Forward Anton Lander was recalled Thursday from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League. Forward Benoit Pouliot, who sustained a broken foot against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 21, could return to the lineup. "I feel great and I think my conditioning is really good," Pouliot said. "It's just a matter of getting up to speed." Edmonton defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday and has at least a point in consecutive games for the first time since the end of November.
Avalanche team scope: Coach Patrick Roy is tweaking his lines, according to the Denver Post. Matt Duchene will center Gabriel Landeskog and Daniel Briere. Nathan MacKinnon moves to right wing on a line with John Mitchell and Maxime Talbot. "We'd like to see him challenging the defensemen more (wide)," Roy told the Post regarding MacKinnon. "It's something we're talking a lot about, and he knows he needs to challenge." Ryan O'Reilly scored with 19.9 seconds left in overtime and Colorado began what could be a critical stretch to its season with a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. The Avalanche, last in the Central Division after winning it last season, started a three-game homestand and a run of five of six at Pepsi Center. Rookie forward Borna Rendulic, the first Croatian-trained player in the NHL, scored his first career goal. "You can tell he's a smart player. You can put him anywhere and he can have success," O'Reilly said.