The Oilers will be visiting Pepsi Center tomorrow evening. It’ll be another important game for the Avs (really, they’re all important from here on out). The Avs are 1-2 against the Oil this season. Both of Edmonton’s wins came at home, including a crazy 6-4 comeback win. The Avs only really played well in the game that was at home, a 3-1 win. They’re going to need a similar effort to beat the high-powered Edmonton offense.
I’m not sure who will be in goal for the Oilers. Devyn Dubnyk was run into pretty severely by Marian Hossa in last night’s game against the Blackhawks, and had to leave the game.Dubnyk practiced today, and sounded optimistic, although he was feeling sore. Yann Danis came in to relieve Dubnyk (Khabibulin is on IR). I only saw a few highlights (the Avs were busy giving me heart palpitations), but he did make some nice saves in the final minute to preserve the Oilers lead. I’m guessing that Dubnyk will want to be in the net, because he made some…odd…plays in yesterday’s game. Semyon Varlamov should be in the net tomorrow for the Avs. I don’t expect Sacco to change the lineup from Sunday.
If you’ve watched the Avs at all the past couple of seasons, you’ve probably heard about the forwards Edmonton boasts. They’re good, they’re offensive, they can score a lot of goals. The Avs are heating up right now, but they need to continue with the gameplan that has made them the most successful at the past couple of games. The Avs are at their best when they’re playing in the offensive zone, and so are the Oilers. Both teams are fast, and because of that, I think the Oilers really try and push for a run-and-gun game when they play the Avs. Colorado CANNOT get into this style. While the Avs can beat teams like Nashville in that sort of game, they can’t beat the Oilers (last time they tried, they lost two three goal leads and allowed 56 shots). They need to play a quick transition game that leads to sustained pressure in the offensive zone-that’s how they can beat the Oilers.
Edmonton is only a point behind the Avs, so earning two points will really be crucial. Looking at the Avs final 24 games, they need to have one of three possible records to get to 56 points and into the playoffs. 16-8. 15-7-2. 14-6-4. Those are the only possibilities to get the Avs to 56 points. If they can earn a few wins in a row here, the record they’ll have to maintain becomes that much easier. They need to keep teams like Edmonton below them, so that they can keep climbing.