Riding a six-game winning streak and coming off a sweep of the NHL’s California-based teams, the Edmonton Oilers head into Saturday night’s home clash with the Colorado Avalanche on a roll.
The Oilers (42-25-5, 89 points) trail the Calgary Flames by six points in the chase for the Pacific Division title. They are looking to keep their winning ways against the league-leading Avalanche (51-14-6, 108 points).
Edmonton has won nine straight home games and is 12-2-1 in its last 15 outings overall, a strong run with a Stanley Cup playoff spot nearly in its grasp.
“You’re going to have to find different ways to win, and doing that the last couple of games is helping us get more growth as a team and being more mature out there on the ice and stuff like that,” forward Warren Foegele said. “You take it as a positive, and you keep moving forward.”
The Oilers have been perfect since a 9-5 loss to the Flames two weeks ago, and not just because they’re paced by the league’s leading scorer in Connor McDavid. The superstar captain has 13 goals and 29 points in a 15-game streak.
Edmonton has surrendered 13 goals during its six-game winning streak.
“We have players that are passionate about playing the game the right way,” coach Jay Woodcroft said. “They put the necessary work in to execute, and they have a lot of pride. … I just look at this road trip here. We gave up four goals in three games, and two of them were even-strength, so that’s a good sign for us as we kind of navigate our way down the stretch here in the month of April.”
The Avalanche are riding a five-game winning streak, with the latest victory coming in Friday’s 5-4 overtime triumph vs. the Winnipeg Jets.
“First period, (we were) careless with the puck, had a couple turnovers and a few decisions where we gave them some easy scoring chances and a couple easy goals, really,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “But for the most part, got better as the game went on.”
Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky each collected one goal and one assist, a positive sign given the absences of captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee injury) and Nazem Kadri (upper body). Burakovsky reached the 20-goal mark for the second time in his career.
“We’re a really deep team,” Burakovsky said. “We’re a good team offensively, and I think we’re creating a lot for each other. … I kind of want to take the next step and get a couple more (goals) and contribute a little bit more.”
The Avalanche squandered a two-goal lead late in regulation, but recovered thanks to Makar’s overtime winner. Seeing their two-goal lead evaporate is cause for alarm, but the Avalanche can look at their victory as proof that a good team can overcome adversity.
“We had one opportunity with the empty net in order to probably put that game on ice and we didn’t capitalize on it, and then we end up getting called for a penalty,” Bednar said. “I like the fact that our team stuck with it in overtime. You certainly don’t like to give up a lead, but the Jets are a dangerous team. They have some shooters over there.”
–Field Level Media