AVALANCHE (2-2-0) at OILERS (2-2-0)
TV: ALT, RDS2, SNET-W
Season series: This is the first of five meetings for these Northwest Division rivals. The teams split their six meetings last season, with Edmonton winning two of three matchups at Rexall Place.
Big story: Both Colorado and Edmonton have shown flashes of class thus far this season – both have wins over the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, for example – but each enter Monday’s game on the heels of a loss. Colorado was overwhelmed by San Jose in a 4-0 loss Saturday afternoon, and Edmonton’s comeback bid fell short later that night in a 4-3 loss to Calgary in the Battle of Alberta.
Avalanche: In their first game of a four-game road swing, Colorado entered San Jose hoping to stick with the undefeated Sharks. And, at least in the full-strength situations, they did. But penalties cost Colorado dearly, as the Sharks’ third-ranked power play converted three of six opportunities en route to a 4-0 victory. Colorado had outscored opponents 7-1 heading into the contest, and the shutout was the first in six games dating back to March 28 of last season.
Even with the offensive inconsistency and defensive indiscipline the Sharks exposed, Colorado will feel lucky to leave HP Pavilion with no more damage done. Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog was leveled late in the first period by a furious Brad Stuart hit. Landeskog skated off after the hit but returned to the game, and afterward called it a clean hit.
"I thought it was a hard hit. I haven't seen it but I think it was a clean hit or felt like a clean hit," Landeskog said. "It was hard, that much I could tell you. I was reaching for the puck and didn't brace myself enough, Stuart stepped up and that's the way hockey always is. It was a big one. I knew he was there, but I didn't think he was coming at me. Then he came and I saw him at the last second but not nearly early enough.”
Oilers: On Saturday, Edmonton, losers of 15 of their last 18 against rival Calgary, looked poised to turn the tides against their Alberta rival. The Oilers had just come off a huge 2-1 overtime win over Los Angeles as the Flames sputtered to an 0-2-1 record to start the season. Calgary had something else in mind, however, as the Flames jumped out to an early 2-0 lead they never relinquished. The early deficit was nothing new for Edmonton – the Oilers are 2-2-0 despite not having led at any point this season, just over 248 minutes of game time -- but the youngsters in Edmonton weren't able to mount the comeback that won them points against Vancouver and LA.
"Getting behind all the time - especially on the road - you're going to have trouble consistently taking points out of that so we need to rectify that and work on that quickly," coach Ralph Krueger said.
Who’s hot: For all the fanfare surrounding No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov, another Oilers rookie is making the bigger impression thus far. Defenseman Justin Schultz has two goals and three assists through four games, including a goal and assist against the Flames.
Injury report: For Edmonton, Ben Eager (concussion), Nikolai Khabibulin (hip) and Theo Peckham (hip) are all day-to-day while Ryan Jones (eye) and Andy Sutton (knee) are out indefinitely. … Colorado is healthy.
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