Who knew the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers play in really big hockey games?
Well, news flash, they do. Saturday night will be no different.
For the first time since these two faced off in the Western Conference Finals, the Avs visit Edmonton. Of course, the last time they were there they clinched their spot in the Stanley Cup Final, sweeping the Oilers away in four straight games.
While the last time the Avs visited Edmonton created some good memories, they want those memories back. This is due to the fact Colorado has lost five straight games for the first time since October/November 2019.
In the midst of this slide, the Avs have fallen out of the playoff race and are stuck on 41 points. As we reach the halfway point of the season, every point is more important than ever. For Colorado, a win against the Oilers would be a great chance to stop the slide and win five straight over them.
However, they must continue to do their best shorthanded. Another name was added to the injured list, this being Denis Malgin who left the 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks with an upper-body injury. We haven’t had any word of who his replacement may be, whether he returns, another AHL player is called up, or if Evan Rodrigues ends up coming in to fill his place.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Alex Newhook (18) - J.T. Compher (37) - Denis Malgin (81)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Ben Meyers (59) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Darren Helm (43) - Martin Kaut (61)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)
Andreas Englund (88) - Brad Hunt (17)
The Oilers are in the midst of their own playoff race too. They are not in the top three of what is a wild Pacific Division, sitting in the first wild card spot for the time being. They are two points behind the surprise Seattle Kraken for third in the Pacific and doing what they can to catch up to them.
Recent results have not been in their favor either. While they are coming off a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders Thursday night, they’ve lost two of their last three including a big loss to the aforementioned Kraken and not being able to beat the Winnipeg Jets who only had 17 SOG.
Of course, Connor McDavid and company will not let it slide. McDavid continues to do McDavid things, with 33 goals and 42 assists in just 40 games, with Leon Draisaitl having 22 goals of his own on a solid second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman. All of their talents will be in full force as they look to push the Avs further down the standings and help their chances in a tight race for the wild card spots.
Klim Kostin (21) - Connor McDavid (97) - Kailer Yamamoto (56)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) - Leon Draisaitl (29) - Zach Hyman (18)
Mattias Janmark (26) - Ryan McLeod (71) - Jesse Puljujarvi (13)
Dylan Holloway (55) - James Hamblin (57) - Derek Ryan (10)
Darnell Nurse (25) - Cody Ceci (5)
Brett Kulak (27) - Tyson Barrie (22)
Philip Broberg (86) - Evan Bouchard (2)
While Alexandar Georgiev struggled thanks to the team in front of him and had a meltdown in Vancouver, he should still get the start with the usual backup Pavel Francouz still out. It seems unlikely Jared Bednar would want to use Jonas Johansson in dire situations like this.
For the Oilers, newly-recruited Jack Campbell has been a monumental failure for his new team. He played on Thursday as well, so expect the new No. 1 for the Oilers Stuart Skinner to get the nod.