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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche

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Oilers in Colorado after disappointing finish in Vegas last night

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vegas Golden Knights
Not what you really want to see in early April
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (34-36-9) (6th, Pacific)

Colorado Avalanche (36-29-14) (5th, Central)

7 PM MDT

Pepsi Center

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their 45h loss of the season last night in Las Vegas. Connor McDavid would score Edmonton’s lone goal early in the second period, but the Golden Knights already had two of their own. The score would remain 2-1 until Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tucked one into a yawning net late in the third.

The Oilers have three games remaining in the season. One third of those remaining games will be played tonight in Denver as the Oilers are set to meet the Avalanche. Can tonight provide a better outcome for the Oilers?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

That’s Connor McDavid after last night’s 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

If that’s not a shot across the bow, I don’t know what is. I’d be more animated about it, but I think we’ve given all we can give. Fix this!

The Avalanche are saying

We’re doing different things on different nights to win hockey games. We’re getting contributions from our whole lineup. Especially with the injuries, guys are stepping up and taking on bigger roles and excelling in those roles. It’s a team game and we’re playing like that right now. There’s no selfishness in our room, it’s all team first.

Source

That’s Avalanche coach Jared Bednard after his club’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Coyotes on Friday night.

The Avalanche are clinging onto the second wild card position in the Western Conference. With three games remaining in the regular season, they control their own destiny at 86 points. The Coyotes also have three games remaining, but they trail the Avalanche by two points. It’ll be a fight to the finish.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • McDAVID REDUX: If the entire organization isn’t listening after hearing McDavid say “we have a lot of crap to figure out”, let me turn up the volume. That’s an unhappy franchise player. I don’t expect McDavid to make a “trade me” style of announcement (yet), but that ought to perk everyone’s ears up this offseason. Cut the fat, trade everything that isn’t bolted to the floor. It’s time to start winning already. Your franchise player is talking. If that doesn’t get you moving, what will?
  • What is the plan for Mikko Koskinen? He’s played 23 of the last 24 games, and I think that’s kind of a lot. The same sort of action went down when Cam Talbot held the fort in 2016-17, does the club plan on riding Koskinen in 2019-20 like they did Cam Talbot in 2016-17? Since his shutout against Columbus on March 2nd, Koskinen has had just 7 games (out of 13) with a SV% greater than .900. With a .907 season SV%, that’s significant cause for concern.
  • NET GAINS: Look for Koskinen to get the nod once again tonight (24-20-6, .907 SV% / 2.90 GAA / 4 SO). The Avalanche are playing for the playoffs, look for them to counter with pending UFA Semyon Varlamov (19-18-9, .910 SV% / 2.86 GAA / 2 SO).
  • SICK BAY: Other than Jesse Puljujarvi (recovery from hip surgery), the Oilers are healthy. The Avalanche are without Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), while Mikko Rantanen (upper body) is day-to-day.