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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
ORL 83
CHA 98
Final
PHI 2
UTA 6
 
Final
CHI 86
LAC 96
Final
HOU 105
CLE 103
Final
ORL 83
CHA 98
Final
BOS 101
GSW 106
Final
IND 94
PHI 74
Final
SAC 99
POR 110
 
Final
LAL 101
OKC 108
Final
DEN 92
NOP 99
 
Final
NIAG 57
FAIR 56
 
Final
PETE 68
IONA 60
 
Final
RIDE 59
MAR 49
 
Final
MAN 69
QUIN 65
 
Final
UCONN 81
SMU 73
Final
CAL 73
ORST 56
Final
HOU 72
SFLA 55
Final
PROV 77
MARQ 66
Final
WISC 68
MSU 61
Final
MON 63
SIENA 57
 
Final
WAKE 69
PITT 66
Final
STAN 70
OREG 73
Final
OSU 65
PURD 61
2nd
COL 79
ARST 76
 
2nd
UCLA 36
WASU 41
 
Final
WIN 5
LOS 2
Final
PIT 5
CLB 3
Final
FLA 4
TAM 3
Final
WAS 4
TOR 0
Final
DAL 1
ANA 3
 
2nd
VAN 2
STL 2