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The Oilers look to get back on their horse tonight and finish their road trip at .500 as they travel to Colorado to battle the Avalanche in the first of three meetings on the season between the teams. This is the fourth straight road game for Edmonton, while it’s the second game of a homestand for Colorado.
Edmonton will be without F’s Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov along with D Oscar Klefbom, as all three are currently on the IR. F Benoit Pouliot returns to the lineup while D Andrew Ference and F’s Jujhar Khaira and Rob Klinkhammer will be scratches. The Avalanche have three players on the IR, F’s Ben Street and Jesse Winchester along with D Brad Stuart.
Anders Nilsson gets the start for Edmonton while Semyon Varlamov gets the nod for Colorado.
Edmonton: The Oilers were in Chicago on Thursday night to battle the Hawks. Chicago dominated this tilt from the get go, scoring 14 minutes in as Jonathan Toews converted on a two-on-one with Marian Hossa feeding him. The Hawks out-shot Edmonton 14-9 in the frame.
In the second, Chicago extended the lead and put Edmonton to bed. Teuvo Teravainen scored at the 12:29 mark, then again at the 16:42 mark of the third period. Artemi Panarin would also score in the final frame, his tenth of the season at 18:35 to officially end this tilt.
Corey Crawford stopped 33 Oiler shots for the shut-out in Chicago’s 4-0 win over Edmonton.
Colorado: The Avalanche hosted the Islanders on Thursday night in the mile high city. Colorado struck first, just 3:48 in, as Francois Beauchemin scored his fourth on the season.
New York would tie things 4:55 into the second on the power play thanks to Brock Nelson, who slid a shot past Semyon Varlamov. The sides, outside of the goal, played an even frame, each registering eleven shots on goal.
The third period was all Colorado, who fired 12 shots on Thomas Greiss. Finally, at the 16:12 mark, the Avalanche would break the tie as Beauchemin scored his second of the night and fifth of the season. The goal would stand as the game winner as Colorado won 2-1, their fourth win in a row.
The Oilers and Avalanche last met in March up in Edmonton. The Oilers opened the game by dominating the first period, scoring three times compliments Martin Marincin, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall.
The second period, however, was a total turn of events. Jarome Iginla got the Avs on the board 5:22 in on the power play, while Alex Tanguay got them within one just five minutes later. Finally, in the third period, Colorado tied things as Ryan O’Reilly converted a Justin Schultz turnover.
Edmonton regained their composure, however, and retook the lead at the 10:42 mark as Derek Roy scored on the power play. That stood as the winner as the Oilers hung on by a score of 4-3.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: The Oilers must establish their game early tonight. Colorado is hot right now and playing with a ton of confidence while the Oilers are trying to re-establish themselves a little bit. Starting slow cost them in New York and Chicago, they can’t repeat that tonight if they want a chance.
Colorado: Push the blue line with speed. Edmonton’s defense is still a weak group and prone to many poor mistakes. If Colorado’s highly skilled forwards can use their speed to push Edmonton’s defense back, they should create some mistakes and by extension some goals.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: After an eight game stint on the IR, Benoit Pouliot returns tonight and will skate with Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This line had a lot of success in the second half of last season, and the Oilers badly need a second scoring unit right now. I’ll be interested to see how Pouliot bounces back in his return.
Colorado: Earlier this season, Matt Duchene was the subject of trade rumors. Ever since that moment, he’s been one of the better goal scorers in the NHL. I’m very intrigued to see a highly motivated Duchene battle a weaker defensive team like the Oilers.
The Oilers won the season series against Colorado a year ago, going 2-0-1 and collecting five of a possible six points against Denver’s team. Taylor Hall scored two goals in the three meetings, while Anton Lander saw success too, scoring four assists in three meetings. Colorado has won four straight games while Edmonton has won six of it’s last eight. The Oilers are 5-12-1 on the road this season, while Colorado is 5-7-1 at home.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Lauri Korpikoski
Luke Gazdic – Anton Lander – Iiro Pakarinen
Darnell Nurse – Andrej Sekera
Nikita Nikitin – Justin Schultz
Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba
Colorado Avalanche Lines:
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Matt Duchene
Andreas Martinsen – Carl Soderberg – Blake Comeau
Alex Tanguay – John Mitchell – Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod – Mikhail Grigorenko – Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Tyson Barrie
Nate Guenin – Zach Redmond