Injuries remain a key to this matchup as the Oilers might add two more players to the M*A*S*H* unit.
|5-6-1, .92 p/g
||5-5-3, 1.0 p/g|
|Western Conf: 13th||Western Conf: 11th|
8:00 p.m. MST | CBC
Top Story: Edmonton has four more home games in a row before they launch into a nine-game road trip that will likely decide their season. The Oilers need every point they can get their hands on as they currently sit 11th in the Western Conference. Shawn Horcoff isn't due back for another two weeks at best, and now both Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz are dinged up. Both should play, but if either one is unable to go, one of Corey Potter, Mark Fistric, Ryan Whitney or Theo Peckham becomes the 4th defenseman. Defensive depth in Edmonton is that bad.
The Avs are still without Gabriel Landeskog due to a concussion and Ryan O'Reilly because of a concussion. The Avs have broken off talks with O'Reilly and will move him by the end of next week. If the Avs don't get NHL talent back in the deal, expect them to collapse down the stretch as they likely trade Chuck Kobasew, Ryan O'Byrne and Jan Hejda and get themselves in a position to land the #1 or #2 pick.
The Oilers are saying:
"Any player will tell you that confidence is a big key. It’s tough to play when you know that if you make a mistake you’re going to be out of the lineup. You really can’t play like that. You have to hope that they start showing confidence in you and you start playing in a way that you deserve it."
--Ryan Whitney, speaking about the coaching staff holding him back from performing as expected.
Whitney can blame Ralph Krueger for his problems, but all of Whitney's issues stem from his mangled ankles and his limited mobility, and no amount of confidence is going to fix his mobility issues. Whitney should watch video of Greg Zanon, Hal Gill and any other limited mobility defenseman and take lessons away from their games.
The Opponent is saying:
"Everyone loves him in here. Great guy, hard worker. He’s one of my close personal friends and I love him like a little brother. But there’s a business side of the game and management has a decision to make and they’re going to make their decisions and we’re going to have to live with that, and Factor is going to have to live with that. That’s the business we live in."
It's strange that O'Reilly hasn't accepted an offer sheet and is allowing the Avs to determine his destiny, but he's going to be an extremely hot commodity. Buffalo, Edmonton, Minnesota, Ottawa, Phoenix, Washington and Winnipeg could all desperately use his services, but whoever lands him is going to have to figure out the bridge contract that has been in the middle of the P.K. Subban and O'Reilly negotiations.
Key matchup: Taylor Hall against the Avs defense. Last time around, Hall abused Erik Johnson and created a pile of opportunities in transition. Johnson is out of the lineup with a concussion and the Avs defense is in tatters, though it was good enough to beat Minnesota. If Hall can keep pushing the defense back as they worry about his speed, his line will have success.
Edmonton Oilers Injuries
Colorado Avalanche Injuries