Colorado Avalanche (27-18-4) (6th, Central) @
Edmonton Oilers (22-24-3) (6th, Pacific)
7 PM MDT
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
The first of February is here. The Oilers are no closer to a playoff spot than they’ve been all year. That’s disheartening and a little surprising, but it’s now quite reasonable to start planning to sell at the trade deadline barring a miraculous second half run. Minnesota is hanging onto the last Wild-Card position in the Western Conference some twelve points away. The Oilers are going to have to win a lot from here on out if they’re going to make a go of it.
The Avalanche are one point away from being in a wild-card position. An Oilers win in regulation will keep them out, at least for the time being. If tonight’s lines look anything like what we saw yesterday in practice, they’ll have an interesting time trying to make it happen.
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“In a backup role, he’s been tremendous because he fits the team’s personality. He’s a lively guy on the bench and he practices hard. There’s a lot of things that he does and he has that experience as a backup to endear himself to his teammates”
That’s Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on backup netminder Al Montoya.
Since being traded to the Oilers, Montoya has appeared in three games for 120 total minutes. He’s somehow allowed just two goals in that time, and will likely start for the Oilers tonight as Cam Talbot has been battling an illness.
The Avalanche are saying
“We just got to turn the page on this one. We got some momentum throughout the game in the second, third period. We know where we are at, and we will be ready for Edmonton.”
That’s Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie after Colorado’s 4-3 OTL in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Avalanche pick up a point with the OTL and remain one point away from the Western Conference wild-card.
Have some of this
Cammalleri-McDavid-Draisaitl— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) January 31, 2018
No Kassian or Talbot
- SO MANY QUESTIONS: What the hell’s going on with Leon on the top line again? Maybe we put Draisaitl on line two and have two lines instead of putting Jujhar so high in the lineup? Cammalleri? That’s a weird way to showcase Maroon. Can’t Puljujarvi just play as McDavid’s triggerman?
- MOVEMENT: The Oilers have traded goaltender Eddie Pasquale to the Tampa Bay Lightning for future considerations. Pasquale has spent his 2017-18 in Bakersfield, posting a .910 SV% over 16 games. Pasquale was signed as a UFA this past July. Oilers currently sit at 48 contracts.
- The Avalanche are making a push for the Western Conference playoffs. They’re fourth overall in team scoring (3.24) and they’re at the middle of the pack in goals allowed (2.90). They’re also sixth in the league on the power play (20.3%). That’s not too bad, hey?
- Adam Larsson will miss tonight’s game (personal),
- THE AL IS SHORT FOR ‘ALVARO’. Look for Al Montoya to get the start for the Oilers tonight (3-3-1, .891 SV%, 2.80 GAA). Semyon Varlamov (13-9-2, .912 SV% / 2.87 GAA) is a fair bet to play in his first game since January 17th for Colorado.
- SICK BAY: Edmonton is without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (ribs), Cam Talbot (illness) and Adam Larsson (personal). The Avalanche will be without the team’s leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon (upper body), Sven Andrighetto (leg), Mark Barberio (lower body).