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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, December 19th (All times Eastern)

Edmonton Oilers (11-22-3) at Colorado Avalanche (22-10-1), 9:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers had one of their best offensive showings of the season the last time they faced the Colorado Avalanche.

With the club struggling to score goals on its road trip, the Oilers hope to tap into the former success on Thursday night when they visit the Avs.

Edmonton has been outscored 10-2 on a four-game road trip that ends tonight, and was shut out twice over that span. Tuesday's 3-0 setback to the Los Angeles Kings was the Oilers' fourth in a row overall and dropped them to 6-12-2 on the road this season.

Ilya Bryzgalov kept Edmonton in the game with 37 saves, but Los Angeles rookie Martin Jones stopped all 24 shots fired his way by the Oilers to hand them their fifth shutout setback of the season.

"I thought we were able to play with them. I thought Bryz was excellent when he needed to be," said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. "I thought we had the puck in our right skilled players hands to generate chances, and we couldn't score. Usually the problems with our team has been turnovers or some defensive zone lapse, but that just wasn't the case tonight."

Edmonton's playmakers were on point in an 8-2 win over a visiting Colorado club on Dec. 5. Taylor Hall notched a hat trick and added an assist, while Jordan Eberle, Mark Arcobello, David Perron and Ales Hemsky each posted a goal and an assist in the Oilers' fourth straight victory over the Avs.

Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves, helping the Oilers to their eight victory in their past 12 meetings with the Avalanche overall.

Bryzgalov could draw the start over Dubnyk tonight and is 7-4-4 with a 2.31 goals against average in his career versus Colorado.

With the Avalanche having been scheduled to play the following night, Semyon Varlamov allowed all eight goals on 28 shots faced in the loss on Dec. 5. He fell to 4-8-0 with a 3.36 GAA in his career when facing Edmonton.

Varlamov could get a chance to redeem himself tonight after getting the night off in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. Jean-Sebastien Giguere got the call in the back end of a home-and-home set, making 25 saves.

Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson each had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which had beaten Dallas at home 6-2 the previous night but lost for the fourth time in six games.

"We're better at it, to be honest with you," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said on his team's game management. "I think it's unfortunate for us tonight. We had our chance. You saw on the power play, you don't need to make pretty plays all the time. You just put pucks on the net and pick up the rebounds. This is how you score goals in the NHL now. A screen or a point shot with traffic, and then a rebound, that's what we need to do more."

Roy's club should also put the puck on the stick of Duchene more often. He has three goals and four assists in his past four games.

12/19 11:53:33 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
9th
BAL 3
PIT 3
 
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
 
Final
WAS 106
PHI 93
 
Final
ORL 91
SAN 103
 
4th
NYK 81
BRK 90
 
4th
BOS 87
IND 76
 
3rd
MIL 56
CHI 55
 
3rd
OKC 72
DAL 70
 
3rd
HOU 72
SAC 72
 
3rd
MIN 50
TOR 77
 
1st
UTA 18
DEN 19
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
NOP
2nd
LAMON 49
LOYC 45
 
2nd Intermission
BUF 2
TOR 3
 
2nd
PIT 1
PHI 2
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
COL