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The Colorado Avalanche need every point they can get to stay in the competitive Western Conference playoff race.
Unfortunately, they haven't been able to earn many when facing the Edmonton Oilers on the road recently.
The Oilers try to earn at least a point for the 12th time in 13 home meetings with the Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Colorado (26-23-2) climbed into the postseason picture by winning nine of 10 from Dec. 17-Jan. 6, but it has gone 3-5-1 since and trails Minnesota by one point for the eighth spot.
Colorado lost back-to-back 3-2 games to Anaheim on Jan. 22 and Minnesota last Tuesday heading into the All-Star break.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 31 saves in his fourth straight start, was upset following the latest loss.
"We got outplayed tonight, outworked," said Giguere, 2-3-1 with a 3.33 goals-against average in his last seven appearances versus Edmonton. "It's disappointing because it was the biggest game of this year. We just didn't bother giving it our best effort. It's just unacceptable."
They'll likely need a better effort against Edmonton, which has won two of three matchups this season and has dominated Colorado at home of late.
The Oilers (18-26-5) are 7-1-4 in the last 12 meetings in Edmonton, the most recent a 4-1 victory at Rexall Place on Dec. 9 in which Sam Granger had two goals and an assist.
They are 6-1-3 in the last 10 overall matchups with Colorado, though they haven't had nearly as much success against the rest of the league lately.
Edmonton fell 3-2 in a shootout at Vancouver last Tuesday, leaving it at 1-3-1 in its last five. The Oilers, 9-23-3 in their last 35, have scored two or fewer goals in their previous nine games.
"We're trying to right ourselves, obviously," coach Tom Renney said. "We came up short but maybe we're getting a little closer to being a good hockey club again."
Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist against the Canucks and thought the game could help provide a boost heading into the second half.
"We did a lot of battling, a lot of good things we can take into the All-Star break and hopefully continue that and pile some points together after," he said. "We want to be a team that always competes and works hard."
Despite the efforts of Hall and All-Star Jordan Eberle, Edmonton has been hampered by the loss of No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The center still leads all rookies with 22 assists and 35 points despite not having played since suffering a shoulder injury Jan. 2.
The Oilers are 2-7-2 without Nugent-Hopkins - expected to return soon, but likely not for this matchup - while averaging 1.5 goals in that span, compared to 2.7 with him in the lineup.
It's unclear who will start in net for Edmonton, though Devan Dubnyk made 40 saves in a 3-1 win at Colorado on Oct. 28. He stopped 24 shots in a 5-2 defeat to the Avalanche on Nov. 26.
|D. Van Der Gulik||18||1||4||5||+3||2||0||0|