Avalanche-Oilers Preview

The Colorado Avalanche own the best road record in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers have the fewest points at home.

The Avalanche look to capitalize on a visit to Edmonton on

Thursday night in the opener of a potentially taxing three-game

trip through Western Canada.

Colorado (19-6-0) has won nine of 11 games as the visitor,

thanks in large part to yielding an average of 1.7 goals. The

Avalanche won their third straight road game Friday, beating

Minnesota 3-1 before sweeping the home-and-home set the following

day with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Now, they’ll need to continue their mastery of the road since

eight of their next 12 games come as the visitor, starting with

this four-day jaunt. After visiting Edmonton, Colorado will face

Calgary on Friday before concluding the trip in Vancouver on

Sunday.

“(Playing in) Canada is always fun,” captain Gabriel Landeskog

told the team’s official website. “There’s always going to be a lot

of hype around the games. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Avalanche have dropped four of their last five games at

Edmonton (9-18-2), surrendering an average of 3.6 goals. They

squandered a three-goal, first-period lead to fall 6-4 in the most

recent visit to Rexall Place on Feb. 16.

However, the Oilers are 3-9-0 there this season, losing the last

two games while being outscored 11-3. They gave up three goals in

the third period to fall 6-2 to Phoenix on Tuesday.

Coach Dallas Eakins lamented the mistakes that led to Edmonton’s

third-period collapse.

“The fourth goal, the fifth, the sixth, that is about as bad as

I have seen three or four of our defensemen play this year and it

cost us,” Eakins said. “They are individual mistakes and things

that the individual has to correct. Some of the plays had nothing

to do with systems. It was all about a misread, or more

importantly, a no-read. Just being so focused on the puck.

“It’s tragic when you are still in the game and then you go into

the third period and that happens. It tears your heart out, it

tears your guts out.”

The Oilers’ power play isn’t providing much inspiration, either.

The unit has gone 2 for 25 over the past five overall games.

David Perron scored both goals Tuesday, giving him three in

three games and a team-leading 11 on the season. The left wing has

five goals and two assists over the past four home games.

He’s been held without a point in three meetings with Colorado

after getting three in a win with St. Louis on Feb. 11, 2012.

Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers with 23 points, but he’s mustered

just six at home. However, he has six goals and three assists in

eight career home matchups with the Avalanche.

Matt Duchene has been one of Colorado’s rare bright spots in

Edmonton, scoring four goals and setting up eight others in nine

career visits. The center had three points in the most recent

meeting there, but enters this one without a point in a

season-worst four straight games.

Landeskog has found the net twice on three shots while assisting

on two other tallies over the past two games. The left wing has two

goals and one assist in his last two contests at Rexall Place.