By Anthony Giornalista
Colorado (30-37-1) at Edmonton (32-27-8), 10:00 p.m. EDT
EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) — An inability to force shootouts
may be costing the Edmonton Oilers some much-needed points. Most
teams, though, are finding tiebreakers with the Colorado
Avalanche to be futile.
Coming off consecutive overtime losses, the Oilers look to avoid
becoming the second straight playoff contender to lose to the
lowly Avalanche as the teams meet at Rexall Place on Saturday
Edmonton (32-27-8), tied with Dallas for seventh place in the
tightly contested Western Conference, has lost four of five
during a stretch in which it needs every point it can get.
Three of Edmonton’s last four defeats have been in OT, including
4-3 at home to Atlanta on Thursday night, and coach Craig
MacTavish believes his team is letting points slip away.
“There has been three of those in the last eight days with the
same result,” MacTavish said. “We can’t even get them to the
shootout. We’ve got really strong shooters and I would have
liked our chances in the shootout.”
The Oilers have been respectable in shootouts, winning four of
eight while going 1-0-4 in OT.
Edmonton has lost three straight matchups that have gotten past
regulation against Colorado (30-37-1), falling short in a
shootout each time. In the teams’ only such contest this
season, the Avalanche got goals from Wojtek Wolski and Darcy
Tucker in the tiebreaker to beat the Oilers 3-2 on November 15.
Those situations seem to bring out the best in Wolski and
Colorado, which is 9-1 in shootouts and 2-0 in OT.
Wolski has scored eight goals in nine shootout attempts. One of
those scores helped the Avalanche beat Minnesota 2-1 on Thursday
night. The Wild trail the Oilers by one point in the West.
As good as Colorado has been in OT and shootouts, its 19-37
record in regulation has it in last place in the conference.
Fourteen of those losses were decided by one goal, and the
costly defeats have certainly been on the mind of coach Tony
“There’s a lot of things you can go back on in a year,” Granato
said. “I’m sure every team is thinking the same thing right
Edmonton would be wise to be aggressive early with hopes of
getting a quick lead.
Oilers left wing Patrick O’Sullivan said a slow start played a
large role in Thursday’s game, which Edmonton trailed 2-1 after
the first period.
“The next time we need to be ready to go right from the start,”
said O’Sullivan, who scored his first goal since being acquired
at the trade deadline from Carolina.
The Oilers lost even after activating captain Ethan Moreau from
the injured list earlier in the day. The veteran left wing had
been sidelined since February 28, when he took a stick in the
eye during a 3-2 victory over Minnesota.
Moreau has just five goals in 47 games versus Colorado, which
has been held to two goals or fewer in six of its last seven.
The Avalanche, though, have won two of three after losing their
previous six. They had lost five straight and 10 of 12 on the
road before a 5-1 win over Chicago on Sunday.
The Oilers are 2-1-1 against the Avalanche in 2008-09. The
teams will conclude their season series Thursday night at