GDB 65.0: Oilers look for third straight win in first matchup against the Colorado Avalanche (8pm MT, HNIC)

Photo credit:© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
26 days ago
Is there anything better than a head-to-head matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche to kick off your Saturday night? No. That’s the answer. Tonight, two potential Cup contenders will square off at Rogers Place for the first of three meetings between now and April 18th, and I could not be more excited to get this game going.
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If the Edmonton Oilers are ever going to catch the Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division, they’ll have to win games like tonight’s matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. You don’t need me to explain that the Avs are an outstanding hockey team — they come into Saturday’s game riding a five-game winning streak — and it’s going to take a full 60 minutes from our boys if they have any hope of extending their winning streak to three games.
From an Oilers’ perspective, the team is coming off two solid performances against the Penguins and Capitals, and they’ll need a whole lot more of the same if they’re expecting to beat the Avalanche. Those two wins were not without their hiccups, and it’s fair to say that the Oilers would be best served to make sure their details are dialled in because the Avs are littered with players who can punish you for mistakes. Puck management will be critical, given the skill at both ends of the rink and how likely each team is to turn giveaways into opportunities.
At 7-2-1 over their last 10 games, the Avalanche come into Edmonton riding a five-game win streak where they’ve outscored their opponents by a whopping 24-8 margin. Not only are they winning games, but the Avs are seemingly destroying everyone that stands in their way. In their last outing, Colorado came back from a 3-0 deficit to the Canucks to close out the win in overtime, and the reason I tell you this is because there doesn’t seem to be a gap wide enough that the Avalanche can’t erase.
However, an interesting wrinkle in the story is that the Avalanche aren’t exactly unbeatable on the road. At 16-14-5 away from Ball Arena, they’re not exactly the same juggernaut that’s seen them lose on six games at home all season. On the flip side, the Oilers are 21-8-2 at Rogers Place, including a 12-2-1 run at home since the calendar flipped to 2024. Regardless of their, at 251 goals score for the Avs and 229 for the Oilers, these two teams score a ton of goals between them, and that has me expecting a high scoring affair no matter how much we talk about the importance of defence.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES7-2-17-2-1
POWER PLAY%26.724.9
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.632.5
TEAM SAVE%.915.913
CORSI FOR%55.3052.32
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman
McLeod – Draisaitl – Foegele
Kane – Henrique – Brown
Janmark – Carrick – Perry
Kulak – Bouchard
Nurse – Desharnais
Stecher – Ceci
I’m curious to see if we get any changes to the lineup given that the Oilers have outscored their opponents by an 11-2 margin over the last two games. If it ain’t broke then why fix it, you know? Yet, at the same time, Mattias Ekholm is still listed as questionable due to illness, so we’ll have to see what happens there. Overall, Knobby has been pretty successful with his line combos changes recently, and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens as the day rolls along. I’ll be sure to jump back into the article and update everything as news becomes available.


Nichushkin – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Duhame – Mittelstadt – Trenin
Wood – Colton – Kiviranta
Cogliano – Olofsson – Parise
Toews – Makar
Girard – Manson
Johnson – Walker
The Avalanche are a deep hockey team with a whole lotta guys that can burn you, including Nathan MacKinnon who is on fire this season. In his last five games, Mackinnon has put up a ridiculous 14 points (5G, 7A) and carries a nine point lead over Connor McDavid (115 to 106) for the league lead. No matter how you slice it, MacKinnon is on fire right now, and the Oilers are going to have a tall order trying to stop him.


On the latest episode of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek were talking about the rise of the Buffalo Sabres since the trade deadline, and Friedman dropped and interesting line about the Bo Byram trade that happened right before the deadline:
“I remember two years ago when Colorado was in the Stanley Cup final and Byram played as great as he did. I remember some of the Avalanche players told me, ‘eventually we’re going to lose this guy. And the reason we’re going to lose this guy is because he’s going to want to be the #1 defenseman on a team.’ There’s a nine letter name (Cale Makar) why he’s never going to be a #1 in Denver. And the Avalanche knew that too. They knew the day would come that they were going to lose him because he wanted a chance to be the #1 guy. It was an organizational philosophy that they were going to trade him once they knew they had the right person and they felt that Mittelstadt was the right person.”


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I hope you all enjoy your Saturday knowing that the Oilers will win by a 4-2 score.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Make it three games in a row with a goal for Connor McDavid. He took the “why can’t he score” thing to heart, and now the rest of the NHL will pay for it.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Am I saying Connor Brown is scoring in back-to-back games? Yes. Yes, I am.

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