The Colorado Avalanche are looking to take advantage of a home-heavy stretch and figure to have the right club visiting them next.
The Edmonton Oilers will try to avoid a team-worst 12-game road slide in the first meeting between the Western Conference’s two last-place teams Friday night.
Colorado (14-15-8) beat Philadelphia 4-3 at home in overtime Wednesday on Ryan O’Reilly’s winner. O’Reilly has four points in his last four games to bring his season total to 21.
”Scoring a goal and contributing to a win is something I’ve been missing a lot lately, so definitely to have that is a relief and something I’ve got to continue to bring,” O’Reilly said.
The Avalanche, last in the Central Division, began a stretch of five home games out of six.
"We have five of our next six games at home and I thought it was important to start with a win," coach Patrick Roy said. "Hopefully that will bring some confidence to our team."
Confidence is in short supply for Edmonton (8-22-8), owner of the worst record in the league. The Oilers are 2-14-7 in their last 23.
”I think this team is pretty fragile right now,” said winger Matt Fraser, claimed off waivers from Boston on Monday. ”I heard it a long time ago that losing can be contagious, and part of that, being a new guy in here coming from an organization like Boston, is you’ve got to bring that element of your game when you’re not content with losing."
The personnel moves continued Friday with the Oilers sending left wing David Perron to Pittsburgh for center Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in the 2015 draft. This will be the third team this season for Klinkhammer, whom the Penguins acquired from Arizona on Dec. 5 via trade.
Edmonton is 0-6-5 on its road slide after Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Calgary. That matches the team record of 11 straight defeats set Dec. 23, 2009-Feb. 20, 2010, with all of those coming in regulation.
Fraser scored on the power play as the Oilers were 1 for 3 after going 0 for 26 in their previous 12 road games. Edmonton has an NHL-worst 6.5 percent mark on the power play away from home.
The Oilers are giving up 3.39 non-shootout goals per game for the league’s worst average, while the Avalanche allow an average of 34.0 shots on goal at home to rank last in the West.
Edmonton has blown two-goal leads in its last two games, recovering to win 3-2 in a shootout over Los Angeles on Tuesday.
”Right now I love our starts,” said winger Jordan Eberle, who ended a nine-game goal drought Wednesday. ”I love the way we’re competing for 40 minutes. It seems like the last two games, we’ve almost let them come at us and weather the storm and that’s not how you win hockey games in this league.”
Edmonton’s Ben Scrivens is 0-4-4 with a 3.95 goals-against average in eight road starts while backup Viktor Fasth has an NHL-worst 3.50 overall GAA.
Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov’s eight regulation defeats against the Oilers match his most against any opponent. He is 1-4-0 with a 4.69 GAA in his last five starts versus them.
The Avs took two of three from Edmonton last season.