Preview: Colorado at Edmonton
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
The Colorado Avalanche attempt to maintain their hold on a playoff berth in the Western Conference when they visit the last-place Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Colorado, which has won three of its last four contests, is clinging to the second wild-card spot as it sits two points ahead of Minnesota and four in front of Arizona.
Matt Duchene leads the Avalanche with 25 goals but has recorded only one in his last five games and two in the last eight. Edmonton is bringing up the rear in the West with 50 points – three behind Calgary and just one ahead of Toronto for last overall in the league. The Oilers’ play this month has not helped their cause, as they enter Saturday’s contest having lost three in a row and six of their last seven. Colorado won the opener of the three-game season series at home on Dec. 19, with defenseman Tyson Barrie registering a power-play goal and an assist.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), CBC, Sportsnet (Edmonton)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (30-26-4): Jarome Iginla leads the team with 10 power-play goals, which also tie him for eighth overall in the NHL. The 38-year-old’s next man-advantage tally will be the 188th of his career, tying him with Hall-of-Famer Ron Francis for 21st place on the all-time list. Reto Berra, who has not played since Dec. 9 due to an ankle injury, was sent to San Antonio of the American Hockey League for a two-week conditioning assignment.
ABOUT THE OILERS (22-31-6): Connor McDavid has come back with a vengeance, registering five goals and nine assists in nine games since returning from a three-month absence due to a fractured clavicle. The 19-year-old rookie, who is tied for third on the team with two game-winning tallies, netted his 10th tally in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota to become the sixth member of the team to reach double digits. Taylor Hall leads the club in goals, needing one to reach 20 for the fourth time in his six NHL seasons.
1. Calvin Pickard is expected to start against Edmonton, with fellow G Semyon Varlamov slated to be in net versus Vancouver on Sunday.
2. Edmonton G Cam Talbot has started nine of the team’s last 11 contests.
3. Colorado assigned D Nate Guenin, who failed to notch a point in 29 games, to San Antonio.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 4, Oilers 2