The Pepsi Center is one of the few road arenas in the NHL where
the Edmonton Oilers have experienced consistent success in recent
Given the way Colorado is playing on its home ice, that success
may be likely to continue.
Edmonton looks to win its second game in Colorado in less than a
month and send the Avalanche to a third straight home loss Saturday
The Oilers (12-8-2) are an NHL-worst 26-57-11 on the road since
the start of 2009-10, including a 5-6-1 mark this season, but are
3-0-1 in their last four visits to Colorado. Edmonton defeated the
host Avalanche 3-1 on Oct. 28, when Cam Barker and Andy Sutton
tallied second-period goals and Ryan Smyth scored 6:09 into the
Devan Dubnyk made 40 saves in that contest for the Oilers and
could be in goal again after Nikolai Khabibulin got the start
Friday, stopping 30 shots in a 5-2 victory at Minnesota. Dubnyk,
who stopped 30 shots in a 6-2 win at Nashville on Tuesday, has
posted a 1.00 GAA while winning his last three starts in
Smyth had a goal and an assist Friday, while rookie Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins scored twice.
Nugent-Hopkins has three goals and seven assists in the last
four games for the Oilers, who have won three of the four and
totaled 20 goals in those victories.
“We knew we were bound to break out offensively at some time.
It’s great that it’s happening now,” said Taylor Hall, who has four
goals in the last four games. “We just have to maintain that every
While Edmonton concludes a four-game road trip Saturday, the
Avalanche may wish they could hit the road. For that, they’ll have
to wait until next month.
Colorado (9-12-1) is an NHL-worst 3-8-0 at home this season,
including losses in two of the first three games on its
franchise-record eight-game homestand.
A punchless offense has been the biggest reason for the home
woes. The Avalanche, who lost 3-0 to Vancouver on Wednesday, have
totaled eight goals in their eight losses at the Pepsi Center.
“It’s hard to win hockey games when you don’t score a goal, and
right now we’re in a little bit of a funk here at home,” coach Joe
Sacco said. “We’re not scoring for whatever reason and certainly at
times like this you need production from your best players, and
we’re not getting it from them right now.”
Colorado’s top four goal scorers – Matt Duchene (nine), Milan
Hejduk (seven), David Jones (seven) and Paul Stastny (six) – have
scored just 11 of their 29 goals at home.
“Our performance is embarrassing,” Stastny said. “We can’t
score goals. We are being too cute. We need to show more drive,
more desperation and just get to the net.”
The lack of offense puts additional pressure on the goaltenders,
and starter Semyon Varlamov is not playing particularly well.
Varlamov, who stopped 16 shots in last month’s loss to the
Oilers, is 0-6-1 with a 4.18 goals-against average in November.
Backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 2-2-0 with a 1.75 GAA and a
shutout in his last four starts, but 5-10-2 with a 3.11 GAA against
the Oilers since 2002-03.