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Game 57 Preview: Oilers at Avalanche

Vs_medium Matchavalanche_medium
Edmonton Oilers
8 MT / 10 ET / 3 GMT
Colorado Avalanche
18-32-6 February 5th, 2010
42 pts Pepsi Center
68 pts
15th in West
Denver, CO
6th in West


Well, our boys are finally in a slump, losing four of their last five games, all in regulation. This was going to happen at some point. On the plus side, the Avs have enough points to remain in playoff picture and a home-heavy schedule. However, the West is extremely competitive and the Avs will have to start winning soon to stay in the playoffs, especially since they face mostly Western teams for the remainder of the season. Vancouver is on their epic road trip and have started to lose games. Despite the Avs' slide they remain only 2 points back from the Canucks. Now is a perfect opportunity for the Avs to sieze the division lead and run away with it.

The this game is the kind of game the Avs need to pick up two points in. Edmonton is the worst team in the West and the Avs spanked them 6-0 in their last matchup. Surprisingly, the season series has been split 2-2 thus far. Coach Joe Sacco is has been sticking with his lines thus far but in yesterday's practice he had T.J. Galiardi up with Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart with Wojtek Wolski down with Matt Duchene and Brandon Yip. It's no secret that the top line of Stastny, Wolski and Stewart has not been scoring much despite still managing to create chances every game. I'm not sure I like these changes but I'm not surprised by them either.

Craig Anderson, I believe, will be getting the start. He gave up five goals for the first time in a long time last game against the Predators.  I doubt anyone blames him for the loss but he can't keep playing at his best if he's playing so much. Maybe behind a stingy defense but the Avs give up about a billion shots per game. Have some faith Joe Sacco! Believe in Budaj!

Injury report: Ruslan Salei (who?) is back skating again but Matt Hendricks, Milan Hejduk and David Jones remain out. Edmonton is missing Ladislav Smid (one of my favorite names), Steve Staios and Sheldon Souray who busted his hand fighting Jarome Iginla but could be back before the end of the season.  Nikolai Khabibulin and Ales Hemsky are done for the season. 

The Oilers are on an 8 game road skid and have only managed 9 goals during. The Avs have to pick up two points in these situations if they want to stay in the playoffs.