Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
1. The Edmonton Oilers are on a three-game losing streak, their longest skid since back in mid-December, and they’ll look to get back in the win column when they play the Avalanche in Colorado on Sunday afternoon.
2. Matinee games have been a challenge for the Oilers for as long as anybody can remember but the Avs aren’t going to be fresh for this one either. Colorado played in St. Louis on Saturday night and had to fly back to Colorado late at night in order to get ready for the game on Saturday afternoon. With a full day of rest, the Oilers should be able to capitalize on a tired opponent here.
3. The recent losses have been frustrating but the Oilers have still been managing to bank points in the standings with the loser point. Since the calendar flipped to 2023, the Oilers have only lost in regulation three times in 18 games. They kicked off January with a 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken, they started a road trip with a 6-3 loss to the L.A. Kings, and they finished a trip with a 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Otherwise, every other game so far in 2023 has resulted in Edmonton getting a point.
4. Sunday’s game will be Edmonton’s second meeting with the Avs since Colorado won last year’s Western Conference Final in a four-game sweep. The two teams met in Edmonton back in January. The Oilers got out to a 2-0 lead but the Avs battled back with two third-period goals and then Cale Makar won the game in overtime. Stuart Skinner made 43 saves in the losing effort.
5. This season has featured somewhat of a Stanley Cup hangover for the Avs. They’re 30-19-5 as it stands right now, which certainly isn’t bad, but they’re well behind the dominant 40-10-4 record they had through 54 games last season.
The trouble for Colorado this season has been health. Only four players — Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher, Alex Newhook, and Logan O’Connor — have suited up for all 54 of the Avs’ games this season while everyone else on the roster has dealt with some kind of injury.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog hasn’t suited up yet because of off-season knee surgery, Valeri Nichushkin injured his ankle earlier in the season and had to undergo surgery to deal with it, and Nathan MacKinnon missed a few weeks with an upper-body injury. Also, Cale Makar suffered a concussion earlier this month and appeared to aggravate the injury on Saturday in his first game back.
6. Colorado was among the best teams in the league at scoring goals last season but their offence has taken quite a dip this season as they currently rank 23rd in the league in goals scored. The Avs rank seventh in terms of goals against, which is exactly where they finished the 2021-22 season.
Their goaltending tandem of Pavel Francouz and Alexandar Georgiev has been excellent, as they have save percentages of .919 and .918 respectively. Justus Annunen, who the Avs selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, made his season debut in St. Louis on Saturday and stopped 19 of 20 shots in the win.
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