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Oilers close out road trip tonight

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers wrap up a five-game road swing tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, concluding a trip that saw them play five games in seven days.

Tonight's game will be the second back-to-back of this trip and fourth of the season. The previous three times, they won once and lost twice in the second game.

The Avalanche sit one point behind Edmonton in the Northwest Division but have lost each of their last two games and three of their last four. The Avs lost 4-1 to St. Louis, 6-5 to Los Angeles and 1-0 in a hard-fought battle against Nashville last time out. Their lone victory was a 3-2 edging of Vancouver.

OILERS TO WATCH: Brad Winchester has been on fire for the Oilers as of late. He has points in five of his last seven games, including five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games... With a team-leading 10 goals, Ryan Smyth is off to a fast start once again. Last season, Smyth had 11 goals through his first 17 games.

AVALANCHE TO WATCH: Colorado is the only team in the league that has two players among the top five rookie scorers in the league. Paul Stastny is fourth with 13 points. He's also third in assists with 10. Wojtek Wolski is fifth in the league among rookies with 11 points and is tied for second in goals with five...

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton - Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out; Colorado - Jordan Leopold (hernia) is out, Brad May (shoulder) is out, Pierre Turgeon (shoulder) is out.

FAST FACTS: Including the playoffs, tonight is Colorado's 500th home game since moving to Denver from Quebec in 1995-96. Their all-time home record is 287-142-55-15... With 1506 points with the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise, Joe Sakic is tied for fifth in NHL history with Ray Bourque for most points for a single franchise. Next on Sakic's list is the 1669 points Gretzky achieved with the Oilers... Colorado averages the fewest number of penalty minutes per game at 10.8. The Avs' power play is 3rd best in the league at home at 25.5% although it's only 5.0% on the road (29th).

QUOTABLE: "I don't know if there's anybody I feel more comfortable with having the puck in open ice than Toby right now. You just know he's going to make the right play. His decision-making has been impeccable."
- Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish on the strong play of Toby Petersen since being recalled from Iowa.

AVS SHOW UP WITHOUT UNIS: For Saturday's game in Nashville against the Predators, the Avalanche forgot to pack their jerseys and had to have them rushed in on a flight from Denver. They didn't arrive until just before game time, so the Avs had to wear their practice jerseys for the pre-game warm-up.

The Oilers return home and will face the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, November 16th. Game time is 7:00 p.m. MST.
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