The Edmonton Oilers (6-4-1) will be hosting the Colorado Avalanche (8-1-2), a team who’s experienced their own resurgence this season at Rexall Place at 7:30 pm MT. Much of Colorado’s recent success has been driven by the excellent performances of their goalie, Craig Anderson. Anderson himself currently has a .936 save percentage (6th in league, highest of any goalie who’s played more than 10 games) and a 2.14 goals against average.
The game tonight marks the Oilers third consecutive game vs. a North West division rival. The Oilers have battled some adversity in the form of the Flu and recent injuries. Dan Tencer reports that Mike Comrie will be back in the lineup tonight. As well, he notes that Fernando Pisani has skated for the first time since being out with an undisclosed back injury. The Colorado Avalanche have also benefited from an excellent performance of their special teams. Adding up the penalty kill and power play percentages for a good team should total a number north of 100%. For the Colorad Avalance, their PK (84.3%) and PP (26.7%) numbers add up to an impressive 111%. In contrast, the Oilers PK (76.7%) and PP (20.4%) add up to a middling 97.1%.
The daily line:
The daily line actually has the Edmonton Oilers (-130) favored over the Colorado Avalanche (+110).
Edmonton Oilers projected lineup
I never thought that I would say this, but in the recent game vs. Vancouver, the Oilers without Mike Comrie in the lineup, had a pretty ugly looking bottom nine in terms of offensive potential along with an ineffective Quinnblender 2nd power play unit. With Comrie back, the lineup starts to take shape and looks to have more offensive potential.
Penner – Gagner – Hemsky
Comrie – Horcoff – O’Sullivan
JFJ – Brule – Nilsson
Moreau – Cogliano – Stortini
Colorado Avalanche Projected lineup:
Period 1 – Colorado 1 / Edmonton 0
- Wow, this marks four periods of hockey that the Oilers have been without a goal.
- There’s been a bunch of turn-overs in our end and sloppy defensive play including the Horcoff/Visnovsky tandem leading to Colorado’s goal by Hejduk in the first 40 seconds of play
- Oilers are out shot 10-7.
Period 2 – Colorado 1 / Edmonton 0
- Hm, the Oilers were out shot again this period by a margin of 3 shots despite having a 4 minutes of back to back power play time.
- It’s now been 5 periods of hockey since the Oilers last scored a goal.
Period 3 – Colorado 3 – Edmonton 0 [Final score]
- Edmonton was out shot 35-25 during this game.
- Like the last game vs. Luogo, the Oilers didn’t force Anderson into putting too much effort into getting a shut-out.
- Lubo didn’t play after the first five minutes of the third period. It’s possible that Lubomir Visnovsky is injured again.
- Chorney took a questionable hit into the boards that left him down on the ice.
- Cogliano took a similar hit in the first period that also did not result in a penalty.
- Colorado’s third goal was an automatic goal after a hooking penalty with an open net.
The Oilers notched their third consecutive loss which coincidentally was their third straight loss against a North West division rival. Like the last game vs. Vancouver, the Oilers couldn’t make their power play click or put together very many scoring chances at even strength. Overall, they’re not going to win many hockey games getting out shoot by a margin of 10 shots and even less when they’re getting out chanced. It’s been quite some time now since the Oilers scored their most recent even-strength goal.
Colorado seemed to be quite effective at slowing down the Oilers in the neutral zone. The Oilers themselves seemed to have a particularly difficult time with gaining possession in the Colorado zone. After Colorado’s first goal, they seemed pretty content with a single-goal margin and didn’t seem to make any glarring errors. In their zone, Colorado was more than happy to just chip the puck out to relieve pressure and break up the play. For the most part, it didn’t look like the Oilers were making very crisp or accurate passes during the game. Penner was setup on the powerplay right in front of the net, but the puck bounced on his stick when receiving the pass. When he subsequently shot the puck, it was already on its edge so it when high and wide.
Pat Quinn’s tried two failed experiments including Stortini on the power play again (this time blocking shots instead of redirecting them) and O’Sullivan on the point (He can’t hit the net from the hash marks let alone the blue line). Our power play looked pretty terrible tonight. The Oilers had a hard time getting any semblance of a rush going vs. Colorado. As well, we were pretty ineffective at getting shots though to the net or really creating any dangerous scoring chances.