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Oilers @ Avalanche Game 39 Preview

Oilers look to open 2015 with a bang.

Daniel Briere has eight points in thirty games with the Avalanche.
Daniel Briere has eight points in thirty games with the Avalanche.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

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8-22-8, 24 points, .632 p/g


14-15-8, 36 points, .932 p/g

Western Conference - 14th Western Conference -12th
30th P/G 24th
25th ST 28th
29th ES 24th
30th Goal 24th
7:00 PM MDT
Pepsi Center
The opposing view: Mile High Hockey

Closing Out The Year With A Thud

The Oilers ended the 2014 calendar year with a point, which is a lot more that can be said for most of the games they've played so far this year.  The Oilers got a few goals from some unlikely sources. New guy Matt Fraser scored a power play goal late in the first period, while Andrew Ference put the Oilers in the lead midway through the third. Two minutes later, the Flames tied it up with a maker from Joe Colborne.  Edmonton amassed just twenty shots in sixty minutes, but hung on to send it to overtime.  Calgary's Josh Jooris scored his ninth goal of the season in the extra frame to give Calgary a 4-3 victory, giving Edmonton their eighth overtime loss of the season.

2015 starts with the Oilers visiting Denver.  Let's see what's cooking.

The Oilers are saying

"I think if I get the chance to go tomorrow, I'm ready for sure."

That's Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot on possibly getting into the lineup tonight.

Benoit Pouliot has been out of action since November 21st when he suffered a broken foot against the New Jersey Devils.  He'd be a welcome addition to the lineup if he's able to go.  In twenty games, Pouliot has eight points (3-5-8).

The Opponent is saying

"We'd like to see him challenging the defensemen more (wide)'s something we're talking a lot about, and he knows he needs to challenge."
That's Avalanche coach Patrick Roy on Nathan MacKinnon, who apparently needs to challenge the D a bit more.

Colorado has fallen back to earth after an improbably great season last year.  Semyon Varlamov has posted fairly pedestrian numbers (.911 SV%), but netminder Calvin Pickard has been playing lights out.  In fourteen games, Pickard is 6-6-2, but has a sparkly .934 SV%.  Small sample size, but that's a healthy number on a bad team.  The Avalanche sorely miss Paul Stastny, who left Colorado for the bluer pastures of St. Louis this past offseason.  Trading P.A. Parenteau for 37 year old Daniel Briere is still a head scratcher.  Speaking of Briere, he's slated to get some top line time against Edmonton.  It makes sense to someone.

Have some of this
  • STORIES FROM THE FRINGE - Oilers defenceman Keith Aulie will be suspended for tonight's game and the next one stemming from an illegal check to the head of Matt Stajan during Wednesday night's game against the Flames.  Look for Nikita Nikitin to draw back in after getting the scratch on Wednesday.
  • Tyler Pitlick will be out for a while with a lacerated spleen.  Yeesh.
  • Leon Draisaitl had a pair of assists in Wednesday's 4-3 loss in just a little more than nine minutes of ice time.  Two assists give Draisaitl nine points (2-7-9) in 37 games on the season.  Would be fairly surprised if tonight's game isn't the last NHL game for Draisaitl in the 2014-15 season before heading down to the WHL for the remainder of the year.
  • Since becoming interim coach, Todd Nelson has been on the bench for seven games.  Scrivens has started all but one of them.  I'm not sure if the jury's out on Viktor Fasth, or if Nelson is trying to make Scrivens stick. A little surprised we haven't seen more starts for Fasth during Todd Nelson's short run.
  • Quick, who's leading the Avalanche in scoring?  It's Alex Tanguay (12-13-25 in 35 GP) of course.  No, this is not a repeat from 2002.  Tanguay has a ridiculous career shooting percentage at 19%, and this year he's hitting them at 26%.  That's insanity.  Jarome Iginla is second on the team with 24 points. (9-15-24)